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  1. Wilemi Kailadel sat in her, room, wrestling with her thoughts of home, about which Larindha Sedai had spoken to her yet again not so long ago. But suddenly, the door opened gently. The Mistress of Novices stood there, her face compassionate yet stern as the formal words rolled softly from her lips. "Wilemi Kailadel, you are summoned to take your test for Acceptance. You must follow me with haste, and speak to no one in passing." Wilemi stared at Larindha. So soon? She had been in the Tower for only 4 years now. That would mean that she would have taken a very short time to earn so much approval from the Mistress of Novices. What did Larindha see in her that would make her sure that she was ready for the test now? Yes, her channelling skills were fairly advanced as Novices went, and her intelligence was quite a bit greater than even some of the flutter-brained Accepted that floated around the Tower. However, she was just not ready. Her ability was, her intelligence deemed her so, but her mind was not. She had heard of Accepted who had run off, driven to madness by the things that they had witness in the Ter’Angreal. Wilemi knew, deep down in her heart, that she was not ready. Not for this. But as the Mistress of Novices turned, Wilemi regained her wits and rushed down the corridor after her, nervous and afraid of what was yet to come. They went down to the lower levels of the White Tower, and Wilemi suddenly noticed that the Tower basement, despite being so deep, was not covered in dust. Apparently, even the deepest cells were sweeped in the Tower, though it was doubtful that any but the initiates of the Tower knew what the passages were for. Then, they reached the room. Wilemi stared in awe around the room. There were four sisters present, but her mind dismissed them automatically as her eyes centered on the giant Ter’Angreal. Centered in the room, the object of the Power appeared to be three metal arches, placed equidistant in a circle, and tilting inwards so that the tops of them touched. So fascinated she was by it that Wilemi barely heard Larindha "I will now tell you two things that no woman hears until she enters this room. Once you begin, you must continue to the end. Refuse to go on, and no matter your potential, you will be very kindly put out of the Tower with enough silver to support you a year. You will never be allowed back. Second. To seek, to strive, is to know danger. You will know danger here. Some women have entered, and never come out. When the Ter’Angreal was allowed to grow quiet, they - were - not - there. And they were never seen again. If you will survive, you must be steadfast. Faltering leads to a failure." Drawing a deep breath, the woman continued her speech. Wilemi's hands clenched on her skirts as she listened, her heart thumping rapidly "This is your last chance, child. You may turn back now, and you will have only one mark against you. Twice more will you be allowed to come here, and only at the third refusal will you be put out of the Tower. It is no shame to refuse. Many cannot do it their first time here. Now you may speak." Wilemi's mouth dried up. It was time to make her choice. She stood, and stared at the Ter’Angreal. When the Ter’Angreal grew quiet, they were-not-there. That phrase stood out in her mind like a bonfire. No, she was not ready. Her mind ached as she tried to come to a decision. To do, or not to do, that was the question. She gulped for air, made her final decision, then spoke, hesitantly. "I … I am not yet ready, Larindha Sedai. The day will surely come when I will take the test, but that day is not now.” She turned to meet the Aes Sedai in the eyes, the answer rolling out of her tongue before she could stop herself. “I swear that I will pass the test one day. But today is not it.” The Mistress of Novices nodded. Her eyes showed comfort and compassion, for she knew that Wilemi had issues in her heart to settle, before she felt that she would be ready to confront her fears again. She turned to the other four women present, and spoke again. "She has refused the test. Let no one speak of what transpired here today, not even amongst themselves. Go now, under the Light." With that, the four sisters made towards the heavy doors to leave, shooting measuring glances at her, which Wilemi returned, not challenging, but firm as a boulder, now immovable from her decision. Larindha Sedai patted her comfortingly on the shoulder. "It is done, child. Go now, back to your room and your studies. You will be given more time to face the issues in your heart. When you are ready, the Ter’Angreal will be there, waiting. One day."
  2. Lavinya was bone weary, for several reasons. She was being worked like a slave, for starters. That vile woman, Jocelyn, seemed to go out of her way to find demeaning chores that Lavinya may not have hated so badly given the luxury of Saidar to aid her, but of course that was still forbidden. She thought that Rion alone may eventually crack in that regard, as it seemed his spine was held up entirely by that damned wife of his. Aside from the back-breaking chores she was forced to complete from dawn until dusk, she had barely been sleeping, terrified that the moment she closed her eyes Linten would once again invade her dreams and seek the revenge he had promised her. The marks from that night had faded from her skin, yet they were forever embedded on her soul, imprinted so vividly on her memory. In a way the enforced labour was a relief, occupying her mind lest it stray to thoughts of torture and deep seated fear like she had never experienced before. Today however, she could not afford to allow her exhaustion to overtake her. It had been a bitter if brief struggle to get out of this particular chore, and she had failed miserably. Damn Rion! She was aware now that somehow in his bonding weave he had used compulsion, forcing her to obedience along with the deprivation of Saidar. There was nothing else that would prompt her to wander alone in the woods once more. She was all too painfully aware of how vulnerable it made her, how easily Linten had ensnared and tormented her on that first occasion - and that was not even in the dreaming world. It had been a small triumph, the wound to Linten's thigh. If she had her way, it would not be his last either, but the odds were severely stacked in his favour. Perhaps he wasn't in the woods today, she thought hopefully, gripping the small, dull axe in front of her as though it were a deadly sword; her only means of protection. The lack of Saidar made her feel as though she were stark naked, open for even the smallest of twigs to wound. Thankfully that were not completely true, though her fine silk was not suited to such labours, now stained and worn. It was a house-wife's dress now, despite the alluring cut of the cloth. Lavinya's eyes darted left and right as she moved, not bothering to feign Aes Sedai serenity. She was scared, and rightly so. What grated the most was the large stack of firewood that had sat behind the house, neatly chopped and ready for use. But no, it was not good enough for Jocelyn. She wanted her out of her sight. And while that thought would normally suit Lavinya fine, she was truly terrified of being left alone in the woods as prey for the hunter, namely Linten. Every small sound made her start; a bird in a distant tree, a twig snapping beneath her slippered feet, shouts from the farm not far away. Lavinya hated feeling so helpless, hated being so scared and jumpy. Linten had stamped out the last of her remaining confidence it seemed, completed what Corin's rejection had begun to unravel. Corin. Her head bowed as she thought of him, many many miles away, playing attendance on the woman to whom he would belong. She'd spent many hours pondering the identity of the mystery woman, and each time her mind would return and fix on an image of Sirayn. It could have been many other Greens, yet somehow it seemed to fit. How could a lowly, rebellious Aes Sedai like Lavinya think to compete with the master puppeteer that was the Amyrlin? Corin was not so shallow as to love purely on looks, and was likely attracted to all the things Sirayn was that she wasn't. Powerful. Strong. A master of Daes Dae'mar, among other things. Lavinya was mediocre in comparison. At best. It seemed a cruel irony to think that she had struggled to protect them both from the monster that was Linten, when they were both no doubt happily cloistered in the tower, thoughts of the lowly redhead the furthest thing from their minds. She was ten times a fool. Gritting her teeth against the ache in her heart, Lavinya hefted the axe and moved toward an old, fallen tree, preparing to vent all her emotions on the dead wood. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Frustration could not even begin to describe the emotion coursing through his veins as Linten continued to pace back and forth along the narrow path he occupied. Two days, it had been two days since he had woken in his bed, the sheets turning a deep red as his leg flowed life's essence out onto them. Lavinya had been stronger then he had expected in her dream control. The benefit of it being her dream and not the true dreamworld of Tel'aran'rhiod her main saving grace. His folly had cost him more then the bloodying of his sheets. She had learned some of the dreams ways, the belief that controlled thoughts could shape it to her will. It would matter not next time. The next time he met her in the dreams it would be in Tel'aran'rhiod where he held the advantage. An advantage he planed to make full use of should she be alone. Even the tantalizing thought of the many ways she would pay in the dream could not calm the burning rage still seething in his bones. He had worked a deal with an acquaintance. Whether it was her hate for Lavinya that over powered her caution or the hint at a truce with her husband that won her allegiance, in this one matter Linten didn't even waste the breath to ponder. There would still be no truce between Rion and himself, regardless of how much his wife tried to build the man a backbone. The gamble had paid off and Jocelyn had agreed to ensure the redheaded witch was in the woods today. After two days of avoiding him in everything that was not outright public. He was finally going to get his hands on her, the thought alone caused a small tree next to him to compact in the middle under a fierce weaving of air before toppling over. She was going to pay for it all. Her insubordination, her witchery, her attack on him, for the blood on the White Tower's hands as they killed his kind. All of it he would place on her and she would know agony and suffering before he was done. Want as she might, even in her begging he would never allow her the sweet release of death. Never again as long as she was leashed to the Black Tower. She would long for death, fear both day and night, and know that what ever Linten al'Dracain wanted of her she would give gladly or have it taken from her. A small thrill at that last thought tickled him briefly in it's passing. As if the wheel worked to answer the vengeance surging within him his ears caught the faint sound of movement; paused to listen to the soft timid steps near and stop. She was here, she had finally arrived in the woods and through the wheels blessing entered into the same area as he. He need only follow the movements once they began again and he would have her. A weave ready to set around them Linten made painstakingly slow steps toward the last location the sound had emanated from. There was no way she would escape this time. He wanted her, needed her, would have her at all costs. The movement began again and he slipped in behind it's location; eyes finally finding the flash of red tangles and tattered silk. Setting the weave that would restrict sound a smile grew on his face. The worn and rusted axe held in pause over head as the sounds of the yard suddenly died. The weave could be worked to allow sound in but not out; a delicacy in the weaving he was not about to waste time on. Besides the added fear that should be rising in her soul right now was a gift for his amusement. Polish jade, the sparkle of thrill danced merrily in his eyes as they watched the timid form try to close in on itself, a slow circle of panic, the axe still over head. He could easily seize her with flows of air, walk out and beat her mercilessly; the anger coursing through him demanding just that action. But that would only supply a broken body, not enough for the humiliation she had caused. No, his goal was a broken, devastated mind. A soul given up on all but the bitter taste of suffering. A wide wicked grin held his face freely, as he stepped from the covering of foliage and waited for her turn to carry her eyes to his presence. “So we meet again my pet,” possessive emphasis leaving no doubt that she would forever be just that. Her identity in the world lost to a new role. “You will not need that,” Linten's hand flicked at the air between them as if swishing a fly. A flow of air knocked the axe from her grip and sent it haphazardly bouncing into a thicket. “Uttut, I don't believe I gave you permission to leave just yet.” His voice remained flat matter of factly, belying the anger that seethed under the surface. Flows of air seized each wrist and bound them around a tree again.; the embrace no doubt familiar to Lavinya. Her punishment was only but beginning. A long and deliciously releasing time Linten had planned for her. Two days of planing and waiting accumulated into this moment of beginning. Walking slowly up next to her his fingers traced her spine lightly from waist to nape before seizing her red hair and jerking her head back. “You were a very naughty pet the last time we met. To falsely offer as you did of yourself and not complete was a grave mistake. But to attempt harm to your master,” his voice had remained frightfully calm and detached until now as he leaned close to her ear and allowed the heat of his anger to brush it delicately.”That is unforgivable and must be corrected immediately.” Releasing his grip, Linten moved around her slightly to ensure she could watch what he was about as he collected a long tender willow branch from the tree and began to peel it. “First we will soften your resolve with a firm yet gentle reminder of your place in this family. Then I will have what you so enticingly offered but withheld at your last meeting. Make no mistake, there will be nothing to stop me from taking it this time. And when my needs have been slaked, then, then we will punish you for your violence against your master and any other man who wears Black. We have nothing but time to spend together to ensure you learn your lessons well witch. You will be a pet to those of the Black Tower; find existence only in the kneeling and completion of our every whim and desire to your fullest. Aes Sedai you no longer are.” He lifted the willow, checking it's shape and length. “They have turned their back on you, you are our pet now.” He tested the peeled willow lightly against his hand before bringing his eyes up to lock with intensity to her own, his voice once more transitioning from casualness to something caressed by pure vengeance. “Shall we begin, I have been looking forward to this for two days now; much thought have I put into your teaching for today and the rest of your life.” Breaking the contact Linten moved slowly from her view to position himself behind her. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Wood chips were flying sporadically from the gnarled old tree, about the best the blunted axe seemed to be able to manage. Lavinya didn't particularly care. Let her return with mere twigs and chips for her royal goatkissing highness Jocelyn - she certainly wasn't expected to complete the set task with the useless tool she had been given. Anger, fear and frustration were coursing through her just as sweat was trickling from her brow as she launched herself at the tree. She wished it were Linten she were attacking, wished it were Rion and Jocelyn, and all the other darkfriends that called themselves the Black Tower. She hated them, hated what they had done to her, hated what they were continuing to do. She hated being afraid and helpless, hated her own cowardice that had made her run from her home in the first place; hated that she was not good enough for Corin. Hate whack, hatewhack, hate whack whack WHACK!. So blinded by her own thoughts and feelings, Lavinya didn't instantly noticed the moment sound disappeared. It was only when she made to give an almighty swing that she paused, striking her as odd that she could no longer hear the shouts of battle training, explosions and swords ringing. Panic was approaching rapidly, it's cloak open before enveloping her completely beneath its heavy folds. Something was wrong, very wrong, and she had a sinking feeling she knew what. She should run now, turn on her heel and flee, but fear had her firmly in it's grip and refused to allow her to move, eyes darting around wildly for the source of the weave she could not see or sense but knew must exist. Please be someone else...anyone else! But it seemed her prayers would not be answered, as Linten stepped into view, grinning in that way that sent shivers of dread down her spine and caused the suppressed nausea in her stomach to rise. Any thoughts of self defence were slashed away as the useless axe flew from her grasp. She was completely at his mercy - this was not her dream, she could not channel, and light knew that she could not run away. He is going to kill me! The thought was rather hysterical in her mind, and her lips clamped shut on a wail of terror. He is going to kill me out here like an animal, and no will even care. Her feet found themselves at last, useless though it turned out to be, Linten catching her with lazy flows of air and harnessing her to the nearest tree, the bark rough against the thin silk of her gown. Tears were already flowing freely over her cheeks, overwhelmed with complete despair as she was. He could do anything to her, everything he had threatened and more, so much more. A strangled sob escaped her parted lips at his touch, gentle and vile before yanking at her tangled mass of hair. Lavinya knew why he was here, knew she was to suffer for what she did to him. Yet to hear him speak it only increased her sobs. She was beyond any thoughts of pride at the moment, focused only on her fear of the unknown. Her eyes were wild as she watched him strip a flexible young branch, fully aware of just how much pain it meant for her, what suffering he was planning to inflict on her body. Bile rose in her throat and she desperately stamped it down. Let him have his fill and perhaps he would be content and move onto some other prey. Let him think her broken, light knew she was close enough to it. She shuddered though as she recalled just what things she had said to him, the silky promises of physical pleasure and fulfillment. Revulsion flooded her, churning her already delicate stomach. She did not want to lose her breakfast in front of him, like she had the past two mornings. It would be like the ultimate low, if it were possible to sink further than where she already was. He departed from her sight, and she closed her eyes in renewed horror, body tensed and waiting for the stinging kiss of the branch that must surely be about to fall, her abdomen tightening all the more at the thought of the imminent kiss...her downfall came when she opened her mouth. To plead, beg or even refute him she did not know - what came instead was far more unsavoury, burning her throat as she lost the inner struggle and disgraced herself, leaving a mess on the tree and her bodice. Weakened and pathetic, Lavinya sagged, supported only by the invisible bonds at her wrists and the rough tree. Light, let him laugh and be done with her, her humiliation was already complete. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Linten took a moment to relish in the sounds of her gentle sobs; the shake of her shoulders as misery and futility ravaged her mind. This was what he wanted, what he had envisioned for them all. The witches would know fear and suffering for those who did not bend to the will and needs of the Black Tower. After years of running, hiding, fearing the touch of a woman who may vary well turn out to be a witch the male channelers would have there revenge. The sweet sound to his ears needing only a few finalizing touches. A new flow of air began to form, to weave before him, it was time to add a little screaming and begging to that wonderful soft sobbing sound. Aggravatingly before he could complete the weave Lavinya sicked up all over the tree she embraced and the upper bodice of her tattered silks. Shocked disbelief froze his hand, the weave dissipating before it could complete. He had thought it all through, knew the suffering she would face; had stewed in it for two days and now this. Disgust twisted his face as he stared at the unsavory heap sagged against the tree. Useless. She was useless to him in her present state. Two days of plans had just been dashed on the rough bark of a tree. He began to pace back and forth, A caged animal watching for an opening, thirsting for a release. But each time his eyes glanced over and fell on the revolting sight it only server to increase his agitation. The branch bounced lightly off his palm as his thoughts whipped in chaotic swirls of disjointed emotions. What options were available to him now, the day could be set aside for a new one; their binding to the Black Tower ensured she would be around for a while. He could not leave her as she was, no doubt that bleeding heart Rion would coddle her the moment he laid eyes on her and believe any vial trick that slipped from her mouth. He moved closer and paused in mid step, the stench wafting a light touch to his nose as it wrinkled in distaste. Of all things he had not counted her as weak in resolve of her dinner. But it seemed he was destined to be surprised by the witch, by both of them; taking a moment to focus the anger he had wanted to vent on Lavinya's physical presence into the knot at the back of his mind; the new presence he shared with Faile. She would get the brunt of his anger today it seemed, if Lavinya could not find her stride again. Taking a moment he mentally undid the knots in the weaves holding her wrists to the tree and watched as she fell back and over to her side in a disgraceful heap. It might have provided a small measure of satisfaction if there had not been that acidic and pungent smell wafting from her. Though she appeared to have given up the fight, her actions in the dream had marked her as one not to be readily trusted. If it was a trick it was exquisitely executed if not revoltingly designed. Setting the branch to lean on a clean tree, Linten took a moment to free the line of small buttons adorning her back from their loops and pushed the silk covering down, dragging her from the stained and tattered remnants of the dress and briefly thought of burning them. A weak stomach could and would be believable, but the loss of her dress a harder story to tell. Free from the initial coating of her own internal digestive juices; Linten stepped back from her again and began his weaving. Air and water met and wove as he worked to pull some of the moisture from the air around them; a small thread of fire adding heat to warm it's touch. The small bucket sized collection he let leak over her face and the front of her small cloths hoping to at least dilute the stench of bile that had soaked through the silks outer of her dress and permeated her small clothes. If it did not work then they too would find there way to the pile left at the base of the tree she had painted. Even that would not be a total lose, something he had envisioned happening today anyway. “Well, now that you are done with breakfast shall we continue to work on your education,” his eyes twinkled with his now simmering anger as he watched her stirring. If she was broken there was no sense in beating her into uselessness. First he would have to determine her degree of brokenness before he decided on his next course of action, “or do you believe you can pass the test correctly now?” His hand reached back from where he squatted looking at her. Closed instinctively around the base of the striped branch and waited. She had already proved her cunning in the dream. He would not allow her such an easy attempt at his life again. Linten & Lavinya
  3. Life was not progressing well. Lavinya had done more work in the past few days than she had in years. Her hands were calloused and raw. That wife of Rion's, Jocelyn, was a tyrant, and it aggravated Lavinya all the more, knowing just how similar their personalities were. She had ordered Lavinya to scrub floors, chamber pots, clothing - anything and everything. She cooked, she sewed, she even chopped the wood and made the fire with a flint and tinder. What good was it being a channeler, if you never ever used your power? Being forbidden to channel saidar was weighing heavily on her, like an addict suffering from withdrawal. Rion seemed to note her despair from time to time, and gave her permission to at least embrace the source for short periods, though never when Jocelyn was around, and sadly that wasn't often. To top everything off, she was still suffering from the most awful nausea. Life was miserable. Lavinya plodded sullenly towards the woods a little way off behind the house. She had been sent to collect firewood, and as much as Lavinya hated it, she didn't mind the chance to be alone with her thoughts. She was hardly free though, she still had the intrusive bundle of emotions interfering in her head. Slowly she was getting better at ignoring them, the first few days had been awful, everything Rion seemed to feel she had been unable to help but reflect, not sure where he started and she began. It was supposed to be someone else in her head, someone she loved and trusted. But nothing went the way she had planned. Nothing at the Tower, and nothing here at the light forsaken Black Tower. Depression had been trying to take over Lavinya, but thus far she had managed to keep a handle on it. She didn't want to give Rion the satisfaction of knowing just how broken she was inside. This bloody expedition was supposed to be an escape from her problems! What a joke that was. Lavinya halted her steps as she heard a snap, like someone had just stepped on a stick nearby. It couldn't be Rion, she could close her eyes and point to exactly where he was, somewhere near the inn, she reckoned. But if he was all the way over there...who was out here, away from all of the buildings? A cold shiver of dread ran down her spine. Lavinya To say things were proceeding as planed would have tasted a lie upon his tongue and set an already and continuing fowl mood straight to the thunderhead of an enormous storm. The bundle of emotions that twisted in the back of his head still spoke defiance, though a thread of fear had begun to form. A thread that was wrapped and caressed by loathing. He was no longer sure whether all that loathing was reserved for him; it had slowly begun to change inward as if centered around the witch. A fact that should have brought a smile to Linten but was lost in the other multitude of problems swirling around his being. A large part of the latest reason the deep furrow sat his brow was the petite witch in the care of his mentor Isha. If there ever was a women who needed the right side of the back of a mans hand, it was her. To add to the unbelievability of it all, his mentor did nothing to the precious doll in his care. She challenged him constantly and blatantly went against his wishes and orders. Yet all she ever received was a slightly stern look, Linten had received worse, and the equivalent of a plea to listen. A plea of all things!! One hour, just one hour with her and Linten would remove that haughty smirk from her face and put her on her knee's where she belonged. But no, instead he had to suffer through watching the fiasco while his mentor flashed challenging looks toward him. Daring him to touch even a hair on her head. Surely there had to be away to separate them for a spell. To hide the emotions and feelings he would elicit in her from his mentor. The question was how. He had thought to ask Isha at one time about the possibility of doing just that. But now with the man all but accusing him it was a question best left unasked. Finding yet another day of no reprieve in the place he was to call home. Linten slipped back into the woods surrounding the farm to work through the problems of life and the new opportunities just outside his finger tips. His meetings with the newer arrivals and some of those of the lower ranks were beginning to bare some fruit though it was still far less then Linten wanted or needed at this stage. The end result meant that the man had to continue to dance around in the Black Tower and that light cursed fool Rion as if the man were deserving of his rank of Ashaman. While he himself still sat the lowly dedicated rank and scrounged for any scrap of knowledge he could get. He was certain Isha was beginning to suspect something and had purposefully slowed the rate at which he transferred knowledge to him. There was nothing he could prove of course, but the feeling was there. A feeling coupled with the way his mentor seemed to watch him. Like a man watches a viper in an outstretched arm. All this had accumulated to have Linten resting quietly against a tall leather leaf contemplating his next moves when the faint sound of movement pulled his ear. Ever since the surprise attack from the witches he was always on guard. It was bad enough they appeared to know where they were. Couple that with the fact they too could travel and the Black Tower now held some of there number as slaves. It was not a far stretch to believe they would return in numbers to retrieve that which had been their own. That was part of the reason Linten believed he had to act fast. He did not know, none of them did, how long before the witches returned for there sisters. He had much work before that happened. Rising slowly he watched the women approaching. Though her hair was damp and matted with exertion already today, he recognized the red locks of the witch who had dare face him in the yard. He had promised to teacher her and knew Rion would be far to lenient. He had dome some checking around and from all he had heard and seen it was Jocelyn that had her at the choirs. It made sense. The women was strong, far stronger then Rion. Couple that with the jealous possessiveness of a women forced to share any part of her man with another women and it spoke volumes of who would have her put to task. Still Jocelyne was limited in her resources and goals. Where she sought to punish the witch for sharing her husband, Linten sought to break her will and put her in service to the Dragon Reborn under his own control. Knowing they should be safe for a little while at least, Linten seized Saidin and fought the raging torrent covered in that sickly vile oil that coated him and would remain as a remnant once he released the One Power again. With Saidin rushing into him he forced the threads of air and spirit into a weave he had watched performed a few times. Slowly the weave set and the air in a 50 foot square solidified to allow nothing in or out save that of air itself. If she decided to holler it would do her no good. Next came a few inverted weaves. Like a trip line these would alert him to anyone approaching. After all the witch was bonded to Rion. The man many risk his own peace with his wife to aid the women if he thought her in trouble. He was not yet ready to face Rion in the open just yet, soon, but not just yet. Satisfied that all was in place as he wanted he tied the weaves off loosely and turned his full attention on the redhead and the games he had been planing. Reaching above his head he snapped a twig from the tree he lent against and watched her freeze. A slow crooked smile played at the sides of his mouth as he watched her trying to calm herself. He could almost feel the rise of fear in her though he did not hold her bond. Slowly her head turned as her eyes sought out the source of the noise and the brief look of panic as they found him leaning against the tree with no warmth in the smile that held his lips. “How nice of you to come and play little one,” the branch still held some leaves on it's end that slapped in rhythm against his opposite upturned palm. So many things he had wanted to try, to learn, to know. Here was his first true chance to begin some of all that planing and see just how much a witch could take before she broke. The branch still swishing in an arc to meet his hand in rhythmic continuance he began to move forward. “I was afraid you had perhaps forgotten our little meeting in the yard. But I see by your eyes you remember my promises.” The smile slipped crueler ten fold as his eyes wandered over her frame. “So much to do, it is a shame I don't hold your bond. We would not have to worry about time then. Perhaps I should bond you as well?” A chuckle from deep within floated to the surface edged in ice. “A small weave and a kiss. Would that not be a lovely thought?” Linten al' Dracain BT Dedicated Forcibly bonded to Faile A dark man with a dark secret Lavinya froze as her eyes met the source of the sound, trapped in his gaze like a hare in a huntsman's snare. Instinct taught her to reach for the source, and inevitably despair followed the latent realisation that she wasn't allowed to, and thus couldn't. Swallowing nervously, Lavinya tried not to show her fear, and valiantly tried to ignore the branch Linten casually slapped against his palm. He was trying to intimidate her, no more. He wouldn't touch her. Yet try as she might to convince herself that Linten was merely playing a game, she could not make herself believe it. She should just walk away, go back to the house. Jocelyn's wrath would be easier to contend with. Lavinya's skin crawled as his eyes roved over her frame, filling her with disgust. She had always enjoyed the affect her body had on men, had even played on it many a time, but the look in Linten's eyes filled her with revulsion. Refusing to give him satisfaction of any kind, Lavinya gave him a scathing glare, only to have it falter as he slowly walked forward. Forcing her frozen limbs to move was difficult, but she did not want him any closer. She contemplated turning her back on him and leaving, but one did not show a rabid dog their back. A weave and a kiss? A fear like she had never known began unfurling in her stomach, yet she desperately fought it, slipping back to another time, another place... Dreams, Dreams Of when we had just started things Dreams of you and me It seems, It seems That I can't shake those memories I wonder if you have the same dreams too. The littlest things that take me there I know it sounds lame but its so true I know its not right, but it seems unfair That the things are reminding me of you Sometimes I wish we could just pretend Even if for only one weekend So come on, Tell me Is this the end? ...it seemed so long ago, when she was happy. When she had smiled last, had been held and kissed. That was the way life was supposed to be. A happy ever after, with Corin by her side, their love binding them together stronger than anything else. Their first meeting, the way they joked and bantered. For the first time in a long time, he had seen the woman behind the shawl. Their first kiss...that wonderful night under the stars...that was right. Everything that had happened since was a disaster. She had lost the love she thought she had, had lost her freedom...and from the look in Linten's eye, the worst had barely begun. Corin! Things would have been drastically different if he could have just loved her as much as she did him. Then she wouldn't have fled, wouldn't be cowering before a madman. "Don't touch me." Lavinya hissed, eyes filled with scorn and contempt as she took another step back from him, fumbling again for the sweet life of Saidar that evaded her grasp. If only she could channel just a small amount, she would show him what true skill was. The smile that never quite met Linten's eyes was chilling Lavinya, who took another step backward, to find herself trapped between a tree and his advancing figure. Panic suddenly bloomed inside her, blocking out all else as she struggled to breathe, picturing the branch whipping at her skin, those cruel hands on her throat. With a strangled cry, Lavinya turned to run. Lavinya Trapped Pure fear, he let it was over him; reveled in it's beauty. Now he truly wished he held her bond; could feel the wash of it through his mind and body. The shielding weave he had held at the ready he now let slip from it's status. No tingle touched his skin. Rion had forbidden her to channel and forgot to mention she could if she felt her life threatened. A small miracle, but a welcome one. It would mean he could focus completely on the task at hand. A solid wall of air pressed her back against the tree as separate flows lashed her wrists to the trunks sides. Secured for now he released the wall pressing against her and tied off the weaves at her wrists. “Oh don't worry my toy. I will not be the only thing touching you.” His voice dripped with excited anticipation. So many idea's sped through his mind he was almost at a loss of where to begin. His steps finally halted as he drew up in front of her, almost as close as a lovers embrace. His eyes drank in the waves of fear that glistened through the dark brown pools she would witness this all from. “Where is this all controlling facade when the touch of Saidar is withheld from you?” His voice was low and soft, but it was anything but warm. His finger tips brushed across her forehead, trailing lightly over her high defined cheeks and rest lightly on her throat; his thumb resting on the opposite side. “See how softer you can be when you are not caught up in pretending you are better then the rest of us?” His eyes drifted lower to the heaving of her chest as adrenalin surged through her body readying it for flight that would never come. White teeth showed briefly before his gaze returned to her eyes. “More then one man has lost himself to your charms I'm sure. But I assure you I will not.” The branch continued to tap against his leg. “We are going to have a lot of fun while you are a guest at the Tower. I plan to learn much about you and your sisters, and you are the luckiest of them. Today you get to help me learn.” A small flow of air, razor sharp, sliced through her dress and bit lightly into her thigh. He watched the sudden widening of her eyes, relished the turmoil she must be feeling, and kissed her lightly on the forehead. “Yes, we are going to have so much fun.” The hand that had rested on Lavinya's throat tightened a fraction to actually grasp it. “You will answer my questions and tell me what I want to know. If I believe you, the grip gets looser, if I don't.” His hand closed hard for a moment and then returned to the light pressure. “It gets harder. But,” his eyes flashed with heat, “if you pass out then I claim what ever prize I wish until you regain consciousness.” His eyes dipped to her chest again briefly. “What does a woman feel when a man channels?” _________________ Linten al'Dracain BT Dedicated Keeper of a Dark Purpose Bonded to Faile Sedai The air was forced out of Lavinya's lungs as she was pressed back against the tree by an invisible force, though she new it had to be Saidin. Fear was chilling her to the bone, raging through her veins as she struggled against her bonds. It was no use though, she was held secure and helpless. Bile rose in her throat, and Lavinya forced back a scream. No one would hear her out here, and even if they did, would they care? She was a prisoner, not an honoured guest. Lavinya's skin prickled with revulsion as Linten stepped closer, so that he was almost pressed against her. There was such madness rampant in his gaze, that Lavinya couldn't hide her own terror, or the pulse that beat rapidly at her throat. His fingers reached out, touching her in the parody of a lover's caress, and Lavinya struggled again, longing to move out of reach. Nausea was surging in her stomach, a mixture of fear and revulsion. About to snap her head away, his hand paused on her throat, and Lavinya froze, closing her eyes and swallowing convulsively, praying that he would be satisfied with her game and leave her be. Her eyes flickered open to catch his gaze devouring her form. Never in all her years dressing this way had she felt so exposed and dirty. A stinging pain lanced her thigh and Lavinya gasped, eyes widening in shock. She was shaking with her terror, increased all the more when the madman's lips brushed her skin, making her want to recoil, when suddenly her air was cut. Eyes rolling wildly, she continued to struggle in vain, lungs burning for their denied breath. A lone tear formed in the corner of her eye as she panted gratefully. Suddenly she began to realise that this was not a game, not a matter of pure intimidation. He meant every word. She swallowed, trying hard not to think of those hands roughly groping her flesh, his body pressed to hers. Her eyes flickered as she tested her bonds again, knowing it was hopeless. She contemplated avoiding the question, but that could prove fatal, and she could not lie. "I feel nothing." She shuddered, imagining the taint oozing into her from her invisible bonds. "I cannot see your weaves, nor can I even tell you are channelling." Her voice trembled, and any other time Lavinya would have been disgusted with herself. "Now let me go. Please," she added hastily. Nothing? Very interesting … if she spoke truth then they were in fact worse off then his comrades. At least they could feel when the women channelled. He would have to see if he could rein in Faile enough to have her touch the source at varying times as he worked to gauge the distance and strength of the sensations they felt. He eyed her closely again, but the panic and fear was too strong in her for it to be a lie. “Good,” he nodded satisfied, “good this arrangement will work out well. But I am not inclined to part with your company so fast. After all we are just getting to know one another.” The fingers of his hand at her throat brushed lightly at her collar bone as if in an embrace. The broken end of the branch came up to tap at his lip as he studied her gaze with a quizzical look now painting his face. “Your sisters back at the tower. They set watches and wards on the Tower and grounds, or only on their personal things?” It was a fair question. One that would aid him in the future when he would have to travel there to collect other guest to play with. He knew the yard buzzed with their soldiers and personal guards, warders if he remembered correctly. But they were insignificant while he held the power of Saidin in his grasp. Relief poured through Lavinya as Linten seemed satisfied, making her feel pathetic at her own weakness. She had been afraid he would hurt her, and she still was, but now she felt wretched. Now he knew that she couldn't tell what he was doing, had revealed a vulnerability. She shivered as he caressed her bare skin, irritated at her body's betraying response, hating him and hating herself more. The presence of the branch had not been forgotten by Lavinya, and she eyed it warily as he continued to question her. Was it just a scare tactic? Would he actually use it? She was afraid he would, but still she could not so easily betray the Tower to a crazed man such as this. Looking for a way to evade the truth, Lavinya tried again in vain to turn from his touch. "I don't know of all the bloody wards in the tower." She spat. "I am not the Amyrlin Seat." She had set aside her duty for only one man before; she would not do it for this wretch. Ahh, her back bone. She had found it again … well that was not going to do if he was to get the information he needed. His eyes flashed deadly for a moment. But then, he could get something else he wanted. Followed by that cruel smile once more as his hand tightened slightly on her neck. His voice dropped low, challenge heavy in its tone. “I did not ask you if you were the Amyriln Seat, nor did I ask you if you knew all of the wards. Witches are creatures of habit. You know the answer to the question and this pathetic excuse for loyalty will not help you here. Here you are my slave,” the end of the branch switched across her cheek reddening it, but not enough to leave a lasting mark. “My pet, and my toy,” the branch still in his grasp rub roughly over her as his hand swept from thigh to shoulder. “No one will hear you here, and no one cares for where you are. Do you think Jocylen really cares if you return or not? Here you are mine.” The words emphasised as his lips came near her ear. “As long as you are at the tower I will find you and remind you that all of you are mine.” He stressed his ownership on her before nipping her ear. “Now let’s try that again. Are the wards spread throughout the Tower and yard or are they kept to their private matters? The trust in the men, strong enough to leave them to raise the alarm and not wards?” He squeezed her throat harder for a moment to remind her of how precious air was. “If you pass out, I will claim what I please.” Lavinya's head reeled from the shock of the blow, pain blossoming on her cheek. Never in all of her life had she been so demeaned, struck in such a manner. Her whole body was taut with her anger and riddled with astonishment. All along, she had somehow convinced herself that he wouldn't truly hurt her, but the strike was a reality shock, forcing her to realise just how precarious a position she was in. Her body twitched as though to escape as his hand roughly travelled her body, and a whimper escaped her lips as his breath tickled her ear, his breath caressing and stirring a response within. Oh how she hated him! She wanted to lash out, to rent his flesh with her nails, to kick and scream and strangle him. Instead, she dropped her head, as though defeated, tears stinging her eyes which were closed in mortification. How had it ever come to this? This was a blow to her pride, her freedom...never had she been so helpless or terrified. Lavinya contemplated remaining silent, but her cheek throbbed, reminding her of the cost of disobedience. How could she betray her home, her life? The only bloody thing she had left? She had no friends, no love, no joy. All she had was her bloody duty. Keeping her gaze downcast, she answered haltingly, aware of the calloused fingers on her throat. "Any Aes Sedai possessing intelligence wards her quarters." Lavinya swallowed, wanting to say no more but knowing she must. "Everything of import is warded and guarded." And again she fell silent, praying for release, wondering if anyone ever heard her prayers. Linten, Asha'man, & Lavinya, Aes Sedai Linten pondered her words carefully for a moment before releasing his grip on her throat and patting her shoulder as if rewarding a faithful dog. “Interesting ... very interesting. So the women do not entirely trust even those sworn to them. This mistrust; very powerful if stirred correctly.” His eyes cut back to the downcast face. Good, still moldable; that or a witch trick. Either way, we will know soon. ~She's Aes Sedai! She's one of them, kill her. Kill her now before it's too late.~ The voice echoed in his head with it's urgency. Linten's eyebrows drew down briefly before ushering the voice back to a distant buzz. Who ever the person was who shared his, they had certainly had an issue with the witches at one time. Taking a moment to relish in a wave of pure hatred that he feed to the not in the back of his head, Linten slowly walked around the tree pondering how next to approach the overall goal. “Tell me my pet. Since you are so concerned that I do not believe you the Amyrlin. Who is the rightful holder of that title?” His voice was soft and low. As if he was comforting a scared child. He remained outside her vision unless she turned her head to seek him out. But his eyes never left the view of her face. Soft and warm, flesh that was designed to be embraced; to be flush with the heat of joining. A lurid smile tried to pull it's self to view on the corners of his mouth. But staved it off, allowing instead a hint of the heat to light his eyes. Lavinya felt a small rush of relief as Linten released her, though she knew he wasn't done with her yet. She felt like a fly, caught in an inescapable web, while the spider toyed with it's prey. Light, why couldn't he just stop the game? Let her go? Beat her, and be done with it! The constant state of fear had her tensed, her stomach churning inside of her. Maybe he didn't plan to release her...even if she told him all she knew, he likely wouldn't believe her. He would still beat her bloody, light, would probably kill her. Lavinya felt desperate, panic surging within her. Die? She should welcome death. She had nothing more to live for, not anymore. Everything she had ever held dear had been taken from her. But the will to survive fought through her depression. What was she to do? "The rightful holder of that seat..." Lavinya paused, struggling within herself. She couldn't betray the Tower, couldn't betray Sirayn. For once in her life, she would have to stand strong, and sacrifice herself. Funny, she had always thought that playing the martyr would be somehow more dramatic and thrilling. "The rightful holder has a stronger hold over me than you could ever have, you bastard." Lifting her head defiantly, Lavinya glared darkly at her captor. She wasn't broken yet. He stepped near, and instead of cowering as she wanted to, she spat, the spittle landing on his cheek with a satisfying splat. Oh, how she loathed him. Linten & Lavinya Of all the emotions that could have swept him at that moment. It was shear amusement that struck out a strong and resilient cord. Amusement at the sheer lunacy of the woman. She was trapped with not a stitch of assistance to be found or hoped for, and yet she preferred to try and draw the ire of the man that held her captive. He could feel the warm saliva slowly slide down his cheek and drip from his jaw. A sickly sweet smile crept across his face as he moved even closer to her. “My delicious little pet. If you wanted to swap spit all you had to do was but moan my name.” His hand closed on a fistful of hair and wrenched her head back with suddenness. His lips sealed to hers as she tried to gasp at the sudden yank. The moment lasted only a flash in time. But it was long enough to create the mock of a lovers kiss before he released her, his teeth nipping her lip, and stepped back slightly; his hand returning to her throat. Her breathing was slightly labored again after the surprise of his movement and choice of response. But his eyes remained on her face and resisted the urge to dip lower. “Now little pet. You have had your little rebellion. Now it is time to answer what is asked of you; unless of course you secretly do want to offer this body to my use.” His free hand trailed down from her shoulder and sat on her hip as if ready to draw her near. “The harbors are watched, as are the bridges. But how closely watched are those leaving Tar Valon? An average peasant walking out of the city. Would they be stopped?” He brought his head close to her ear, his breath fanning the light wisps of hair. “Tell me truthfully and I will loosen one bond. You already know the prize for lies and refusal.” Lavinya had no time to ready herself for Linten's reaction, though in truth she had known he wouldn't let her outburst go unpunished. The longer their meeting continued, the more certain Lavinya became that he wasn't going to simply release her from his cruel game. Instead, he gripped her hair, yanking her head back cruelly as he pressed his lips against hers, stealing what she had given no man freely since Corin....light! It was as though the creator was mocking her for that union, for her utter folly. Had she not suffered enough? The kiss - if the blatant possession could be called that - didn't last long, but Lavinya knew the violation would live on in her mind, the sharpness of his teeth bruising the soft flesh of her lower lip. Her skin crawled as his hand roved over her body as though he were it's master, his dominance making her want to scream and weep at the same time. Still, he was offering her some relief, or was it just more of his game? Her brain turned over quickly, summing up her options, her tongue idly touching her bruised lip before hurriedly fleeing back into her mouth lest he see the move as encouraging. "Aes Sedai cannot lie." Lavinya admitted, though she doubted whether he would believe her anyway. How much to tell him? How much could she give away without weakening her home? "There are guards at the gates, and they are well trained." Would they stop a lone peasant? She didn't think so, but hardly wished to tell Linten that. At least he had left off the question of who the Amyrlin was. For now, Sirayn's identity was safe. Linten nodded slightly at the side of her head as he took in the few brief words. So much resistance and game play. He was going to thoroughly enjoy playing with this one. The tip of his nose nuzzled lightly at her neck as his mind wandered through thoughts and plans on how he could secure further access to this little gem. Approaching Rion was out of the question, but perhaps if he approached Jocelyn. There was a protective fire about her over Rion. As much as it was annoying to find out earlier on. It now lent to his advantage in a far greater way. That same protective prowess would also be infused with possessive nature. Possessiveness over a rare and most intimate gift he had shared with her that he now shared with another as well. Yes, Linten was sure Jocelyn would not be taking this well. Almost the equivalent as sharing the rest of him with a mistress. He could play that subject subtly to her. Perhaps, if done delicately enough, he might even bring her around to his own thoughts on the matter and secure an unlimited amount of time and access to this treasure. He chuckled softly near her ear before withdrawing his shaking head from near her's. “You are an interesting study my pet.” The chuckle held dark undertones and his eyes radiated a growing desire. “I offer you an out. A chance to gain a breath of freedom or a tumble into complete servitude and you find a thin line to walk.” Linten pulled a tendril of Fire from Saidin and wove it deftly while his eyes tried to burrow into her skull through her own. As the weave took form and settled around them the air seemed to increase greatly in temperature. It felt as if they stood in the middle of the barren yard during the hottest of afternoon summer days. Perspiration that had only been sporadic with her exertions now began to form a light sheen to her skin. “So my pet, how shall I deal with your aversion? You know the consequences yet you only repeat back my own words. I do not recall collecting a mime bird today. Yet this is what tries to pass before me. Tell me, shall I pluck the bird clean and cook it for stew?” A flow of air released the first few buttons at the top of her dress. “Do you so worship the opportunity to have me as a bed partner that you go out of your way to incite me to take you?” ~You are mad boy!! Mad I tell you. Someone save me from this madman who seeks to kill us all!~ Shut up!! There is nothing she can do and everything I can. You fear these witches yet they are simple flesh and bone. Blood courses through their veins as ours and they pass from this time when it is lost as do we. ~They are Aes Sedai you fool. Help! Someone please save me from the madman inside my head. He plays with a viper in his hands like it was a piece of candy.~ Linten thrust the annoyance in his mind back into the dark with a hiss. It took a measure of conscious control not to snap her neck with the added tension in his mind as his grip closed a measure tighter around her throat, dispassionate eyes still locked to her own. “The kiss was but simple and barren compared to the kiss offered to you on the battle field. Perhaps that is the kiss you truly desire from me. Is it that you want to share a bond with me before the bed?” He could imagine the wheels spinning wildly in her head behind those dark brown pools as she sough out a way to appease him with out loosing her self or betraying her precious tower. “I did not ask if the gates held guards or even the level of their training. The question before you is will they stop a lone peasant leaving Tar Valon proper?” Linten's lips twitched to a crooked smirk. “Your answer or we see how long you last as the amount of air you receive continues to shrink.” Lavinya shrank back from Linten as much as her bonds would allow, repulsed at the idea of taking him for a bed partner willingly. It was rapidly growing warmer, perspiration beginning to bead on her brow. Obviously another cruel trick with Saidin. Lavinya struggled to feel the power, to sense Saidin, see the flows, anything - but they were as invisible to her as the bonds holding her to the tree. It frustrated her, knowing he could tell when she channelled, when she had no clue to Saidin except its effects. And right now it was getting hot, and now she was more exposed to his filthy gaze. Bile rose in her throat as she imagined being bonded by this animal. She hated Rion, but that was nothing compared to what she felt for Linten. To have him in her head, as he violated her body...she shuddered involuntarily. Was it worth it? Protecting her home, to save herself humiliation? Then again, there was no guaranteeing that he wouldn't take what he wanted anyway. No, she had to stay strong. If only she could grasp saidar! She could cut the flows, and beat the goat-kissing trolloc bloody. Lavinya could sense Saidar, like warmth behind a cloud, but try as she might, she could not reach out and touch it. That was worse than anything he might do. Lifting her chin in a show of defiance, Lavinya remained stoically silent. The pet had found the strength to challenge her new master and that would never do for the plans and experiments that Linten had need of her for. If it were not for her possible usefulness then he would have relieved himself of her sooner. But until he had the answers he needed and formulated the plan to transition the White tower to Black control she would remain in his eyes like a mouse to the hungry hawk. “Tell me,” his voice took on a dangerous edge. “Are you so uncaring of your own body that you would offer it to anyone who decided to take it? I thought you witches had more fight in you. But it appears I was wrong, you all are truly designed and desire to be at the feet of men.” Fire and air wrapped together and the weave settled to the air next to her drawing moisture out and cooling it to almost ice. The thumb nail sized droplet moved silently from behind her sight to press to her heated flesh at the cleft of her neck and flow down in a rivulet guided by her cleavage to the flat of her stomach. He watched as she tried to gasp in air from the shock but the continuing grip on her throat made it more of a whisper then a true gasp. Changing the weave at her wrists he pressed her down to kneel before him. Arms now bound behind her back; a new weave wrapping her ankles together. “You will find I am no gentle lover when it comes to witches. But then you look the type that prefers it to be not so. You will please me with answers or your body. The choice is yours. But if you doubt all else know that I will get those answers from you before you ever see the shining peaks of Tar Valon again.” Caring about my body has brought me nothing but heartbreak and loneliness, thought Lavinya. If I had never betrayed my duty I wouldn't be in this situation. Linten would never know that his words helped her firm her resolve. She had always put herself first, above her duty and responisbilities. Now was the chance to prove that she was worthy to wear the shawl, to call herself Aes Sedai. Still, she didn't know just how far Linten planned to push her, and she had a sudden feeling that she was only experiencing a hint of his madness. Ice cold water suddenly touched her overheated skin, eliciting a gasp as her skin prickled, her body betraying her with it's reaction to the touch as the droplet moved in the parody of a lover's caress. Lavinya swallowed and fought a tide of answering heat as she was forced roughly to her knees with the invisible bonds, hands bound behind her, highlighting even more just how exposed she was to his eyes. Her breathing was ragged, her chest heaving as she desperately weighed her options. Please him? She would never please him! Anger and despair fought one another inside her, pushing her to hysteria. She would kill him! In her mind she was freeing herself, using the branch he had struck her with to illicit her own cruel revenge...but these thoughts weren't helping her. In the end, stubborn pride and hate won out. "You are pathetic." She spat with a sneer. "Is this the only way you can get a woman to look at you? To take her by force?" Lavinya forced out a harsh bark of laughter, bitter to her own ears. "No wonder, I doubt you are man enough to please a woman. They only moan in revulsion." It was vulgar, but so was he, and Lavinya had the desperate thought that if she managed to make him angry enough, he would beat her and go, and leave off with his questioning. The witch had sealed her own fate after the first few words. Her rant about other women and their revulsion slide past as determination to see her pay bloomed bright in his eyes. His hand clamped down harder on her throat. He watches as her eyes bulged slightly while she squirmed to find free flowing air. A quest that was fruitless. Twisting the weave he released one hand and laughed hauntingly as it raced to claw at his own. Desperation in her eyes and movement to find that sweet breath of air before blackness took her. He watches with a growing pleasure as her struggling began to subside and her hand slowly became a weight upon his own. As her eyes began to roll back in her head he leaned in close to her ear. “Now it is play time my pet.” With one firm squeeze her body went limp before him. Releasing his grip he removed the bonds of air and roughly evicted her from her clothes before using flows to once more strap her to the tree, this time facing it in a firm embrace. Collecting the branch from were it had fallen earlier he tested it's flexibility and then sent it hurtling against the now exposed skin of her back. It took only two such lashes before she stirred once more and the grin returned to his mouth. “Did you enjoy your nap? I wonder, how long were you not with us? Did anything happen? It is said that as a person passes out they sometimes utter secrets, things they desperately want to keep. I can say that rumor is true. I think now it is time for a new question as all my previous ones have been answered.” The branched lashed across the top of her buttocks. “How many of your sisters can access the dreams with any form of angreal?” His voice was once more light and relaxed as the branch fell once more. “Do not play games with me or we will repeat the prior activities.” She was going to die. Suddenly her bravery seemed nought but utter folly as the hand on her throat tightened, cutting off her airflow. Tears of fear and desperation ran unimpeded down her cheeks as her hand clawed at his, seeking freedom from his grip, too caught up in her fight for survival to notice the missing bond. Nails met flesh, but still no air. Everything began to spin and grow dim, her body slowly giving out on it's struggle...I don't want to die alone... Vague pain roused her, groggy and disorientated. Another harsh blow brought full consciousness, and along with it panic. Rough bark chafed her naked flesh as fire raced over her spine. A sob caught in her throat as she struggled to free herself, the familiar voice washing over her and filling her with terror. Oh light...what had he done to her? Anguished tears ran down her cheeks. She was naked, and she was in pain. She had imagined he might try to take her physically, but that she could fight the whole time, but this, to take advantage of her unconsciousness...this was beyond anything she had envisioned. This was far, far, worse. What had she said? He said she had answered his questions, but the monster could well be bluffing. Lavinya yelped in pain as the branch lashed at her exposed flesh. She had been thinking of attacking him with that branch before passing out, evil, wicked things...had she somehow told him her thoughts? Was this his twisted idea of payback for her vicious fantasy? She had to stay conscious, whatever she did. She could not let him make her that helpless again. "I don't know!" She near wailed, pain and fear befuddling her thoughts. Gone was the dignified Aes Sedai. Had he used her body for his own pleasure? She didn't know. A scream escaped her lips as the branch whistled through the air onto her naked flesh once more. "Please!" She begged through her salty tears. "I swear I don't know! A few maybe...please let me go!" Satisfaction permeated him at her screams and begging. This was more the woman he had sought to make of her .... at least to set her to the path he would guide her feet on. “Go? But we are just getting to know each other so intimately well.” The branch whipped into action again from his arm and hand. But this time he brought it's cruel caress to the tree next to her head. Many thoughts swarmed his mind, and he picked the ones he would use carefully with urgency. He did not want to repeat her defiance again so soon. “I have a task for you.” He let his hand holding the branch fall to his side as he stepped up behind her, his free hand brushing back the hair from the side of her face and then finding it's place on her hip. The flesh there was warm to the touch despite the exposure, only then did he remember the weave that he had used to heat the air around her. A smile pulled the corners of his mouth and added anticipation to his voice. “When I release you, if you behave as I have requested, you will complete a task for me this night and every night hence forth. As you drift off to slumber land, you will think only of me. Focus your thoughts on me and dream of me.” His voice took on a thick husky edge. “I can help you visualize a dream if you need one,” his hand pulled lightly at her hip for a moment. “Or you can create your own. But you will do as I say,” his lips brushed the edge of her ear. “Won't you my pet?” No! She screamed inwardly. No, I will do nothing that you say! You are vile and cruel and revolting, and I am not your pet! Yet she could not bring voice to the words. Instead she shed bitter tears, her body shaking with the sobs as she nodded her head reluctantly. Whatever would gain her freedom, she could deal with. The humiliation was beyond compare, naked and bound and entirely at his whim. She needed to get as far away from him as she could, and she never would, the way things were progressing. Just thinking about his hands peeling her clothing from her skin without her knowing was motive enough for her to agree, without words at least. Fat chance keeping him out of her dreams tonight anyway, or any other night for that matter. Lavinya had never endured such horrid treatment, had never feared for her life in this way. Her Arches had been tough, her testing terrifying, but they both paled against the horror she was forced to endure now, Linten’s hot breath fanning her cheek, his hand resting intimately on the naked flare of her hip. “I will dream of you as you say, just please, release me!” Lavinya choked back another helpless sob, resting her forehead against the roughness of the bark. “Please, before Rion comes looking for me.” Linten & Lavinya Unseen tension eased in his shoulders as a relaxed, a genuine smile settling into place on Linten's face. He had secured the first part of his needs and plan. The witch's dream would be like a beacon to him when he touched the dream world again. From there he would have unrestricted access to her. No more sneaking around to find her isolated and alone in which to carry out their conversation. Diversion had proved it's worth here. So tied up in knots over what would happen to her fair form and the secrets she may have loosed, that she probably did not even realize the trap was before her. No doubt realization would set in once she again had time to think. If not it would with their first meeting in the dreams. He placed the stick to lean against the tree near her knee, the hand that had rested intimately on her hip moved to stroke her hair gently. He stepped back slightly, allowing her some space between them. “You know,” his eyes surveyed her from head to toe as if purchasing a fine horse. “Once you get past that little piece of cloth and ring they have chained you to. You realize how truly striking you are.” Linten's hand patted her head lightly as if praising a child. “You have done well my pet.” Moving back from her Linten pulled an earthen chair from the forest floor while his hands collected the discarded items of clothing that he had strew around the area in his haste to have her out of them. His fingers took in the softness of the fabric and the gossamer transparency to some of it. How different things might have been between them if she were not a witch. With a slight sigh of lose he settled into the chair. His hand waved as if to scatter an insect and the weaves of air that bound Lavinya to the tree dissipated. “If you run I will bind you again, and there will be a payment to exact.” His voice held none of it's malice or dark under tones it had before. Instead it seemed light and inconsequential, as if this was some ordinary meeting and the talk was of the weather. Looking back at her still huddled to the tree. A quizzical draw took his brow briefly; his mind pondering some of the future plans he had laid out before this wonderful gift had been dropped into his lap from the Creator. It lasted only a short span before it was swept away as if it had never existed. With reluctance inside he tossed her the clothes, a part of him still very much enjoyed the view of her smooth form. “I think perhaps you should sit briefly before returning to Rion.” He could not help the slight edge that took his voice at the mention of the traitors name. “Let us discuss not matters of your home but perhaps of my own for a spell while you rebuild your strength. Jocelyn will expect to see you carrying that wood back in your arms if you are not to anger her further.” Another chair rose from the earthen floor of the forest in front of him smaller and slightly to the left. His hand motioned toward it as dry dead timber around them stacked it's self neatly at his side. With that Linten waited with what patience he could offer his pet at the moment, but his eyes never left her form. Even as she looked briefly for somewhere to dress and found nothing where his eyes would still not be on her. She would defiantly heat his dreams tonight when he finally allowed true sleep to take him. The bonds had dissipated, but Lavinya remained huddled by the tree, fear and a loathing for him to see more of her body staying her feet. She wasn't fool enough to try and run; he could channel and she could not. She knew all to well how easily he could tangle her up in air again, and the light only knew how he would punish her for such an insolence. Instead she watched him warily over her shoulder, rapidly gathering her clothes and holding them to protect her modesty, though in essence the action was pointless - for all she knew he had already claimed her intimately. The thought brought a fresh surge of nausea which she fought to keep in check as she looked for some privacy to dress. Looking between the earthen chair and her clothing once more, Lavinya resisted the urge to scream at her tormentor. Knowing she had little choice, Lavinya began to dress, hands shaking so much she fumbled with the buttons on her gown more than once, to the obvious amusement of Linten. Glaring at him she turned her back, using the moment to close her eyes and try to find some calm, practising an old novice exercise to bring some clarity to her terribly harried mind. Mustering all the arrogance she could in her nauseated state, Lavinya turned back to Linten. Her legs were unsteady and the material of her gown drew fire against the welts on her back, but she somehow managed to look regal as she strode to the makeshift chair and sat stiffly, fixing the madman with a stony, unreadable stare. She was still Aes Sedai. She wasn't screaming now, and she certainly wasn't begging. If only the serenity weren't just a facade. "What do you wish to discuss, Linten?" Lavinya asked stiffly, for all the world as though she hadn't just been abused and broken to the point of begging for release. Amusement played at his eyes as the woman slipped into a good semblance of regality; as if pulling on a cloak. She sat her chair stiffly; if in complete control. But he doubted that she had recovered so quickly. If she had he would deal with it in turn. But for now there were other matters to attend to, and not just how well she could present herself under duress. Though he did make mental note of that. It would come in handy in the future he was certain. For what? He was not sure, many of his plans were liquid motion; changing from day to day. But he would find a use for it. “I can not imagine Jocelyn is too pleased with the fact her husband shares such close intimacy with another woman. Even though it is not physical.” His eyes roved over her again. “Well at least for your sake I hope it is not physical. If you think Jocelyn is hard to deal with now, let her think you are sharing him physically and no one will be able to save your life.” Leaning back a quizzical look took him as he pondered just what her role in the White Tower was and the channels he may open through her. He could approach it again, but he had told her they would talk of his home now and not her's. If he was to keep her in the palm of his hand then he would need her to feel she could at least trust something. “All of us from that day will have the nightmares to remind us. Those of us ordered to bound your kind more so. Tell me,” every great cake needed a few broken eggs. But how much to reveal to her about the undercurrents and his own chaotic relation ship with Rion would be a delicate dance. The less the better, “does Rion treat you fairly? No doubt he will be curious as to the emotions you have no doubt flooded him with. Belief that Jocelyn has over worked you in jealousy perhaps. It would be best at any case. He is less likely to add to your discomfort if he believes it is his wife who has issued you justice.” The conversation reminded him of the cold dark knot in his own head. A knot that had changed slightly, curiosity seemed to abound in it. But the moment slipped quickly as she must have realized the change in him. Scorn filtered back to him; ironically it made him feel more at ease. Witches were never to be trusted, if it had remained changed he would have been worried she was up to something. As it were, she would pay before the day was out just for being in his head if he found no other reason. The thought of sharing not only Rion’s bond but a physical relationship with him was rather sickening. He was a married man! And he was likely insane from tainted Saidin, not to mention an evil darkfriend who was holding her against her will. Jocelyn’s insecurities were unfounded, but who knew when they may play to her advantage? Best to keep silent on that thought, she had very few cards to play in her position, and she didn’t want to reveal her hand, especially to someone as light forsaken as Linten. But his words brought her attention back to the knot of emotions at the back of her head. She had not thought of what may have been filtered back to him, though now she could well sense his alarm and curiosity. He wasn’t approaching, perhaps her struggle for calm had aided somewhat. Would he have cared anyway? Likely only because he too would feel some of what she had just gone through. The welts on her back were still smarting, but they were a dull flame now. “I find it hard to believe you actually care about how fairly I am being treated.” Lavinya fixed her tormentor with a flat stare. “I don’t know what you would call fair, but he has yet to violate me.” Her lips twisted with hatred and her gaze gained heat, but she managed to refrain from adding anything further. She didn’t want to encourage Linten to take a hand to her again. She needed to keep her wits, not lose them in a fit of rage. There would be time for that when she was alone; for now she needed to get away from this madman in one piece. “If Rion asks me what went on this day, I cannot tell a lie.” Lavinya watched Linten carefully, noting the slight tightening of his jaw and wondering just what caused it. Was it the thought of him being found out? Or perhaps a result of her impediment as he would see it. Either way, she filed it away in her mind for later perusal. “In fact, I don’t see why I don’t tell him the whole tale, perhaps he would see fit to keep me safe.” Lavinya highly doubted any madman could keep her safe, but at least Rion had a wife to think of. Keeping her face smooth, Lavinya hid the fact that she was bluffing, smoothing a wrinkle from her lap as though there was nothing unusual about the conversation. Rion ..... why did it always have to come back to that traitor. If she thought she could find sanctuary in him she would pay for the misjudgment a hundred times over. Likely the fool would find away to protect her. But he was not about to let the witch know that. Her backbone seemed to find strange times in which to reveal itself. She was going to be a wonderfully fun toy to play with in the dreams when he found her star from amongst the many. The thought added just the right edge of cynicism to the smile that pulled the corners of his mouth. Gently a weave of air once more settled on her, like a belt it held her to the chair but did not add pressure. So she didn't think Rion would violate her. Rising slowly Linten began to walk around behind her. “Yes they say you can not lie. But they also say that an Aes Sedai can speak around truth so smoothly that you would believe the information as truth. Make the wrong conclusion to which they do not need to correct you from and did not actually lie in it's answer.” He stopped behind her and gently brushed the hair back along one side revealing the soft nape of her neck and the delicate shape of her ear. She really was a dish to be devoured and Linten knew before her time here was over he would indeed enjoy her sweetness. But the day was already to short now for that. He would reinforce the thought in the dream and then perhaps enjoy her at their next meeting. Leaning once more to brush lips next to ear and neck he watched her reaction carefully. “He has already violated you. He holds your bond and Jocelyn hates that. She can make Rion do things he would otherwise probably not. If I was to inquire it of her and offer certain assurances in return, I am confident she would have Rion pass your bond to me. Then what happened earlier between us under the watching of the tree's could be enjoyed even more on levels that transcend the mere sharing of physical pleasure. Something you are very well designed for.” A free hand trailed fingers lightly over her shoulder and down her arm. “Fingers entwined,” his slipped between her own, “gripping in the throws of passion and release. Can you imagine how wonderful it will be when he passes your bond to me?” Linten set his lips to her neck, teeth grazing it's tenderness. “Tell him the truth or let him figure it out and you will seal yourself to share a bundle of nerves hidden in the mind with me. The choice is yours. Either way I enjoy the offering.” A sickening warmth had wrapped itself around his words. Lavinya stiffened, loathing and repulsion coursing through her as Linten’s breath fanned her neck, taking liberties and causing her skin to pimple in a betraying manner that made her hate herself all the more. She hated too, that she could agree with this monster on anything, but it was true – Rion had already violated her in the most disgraceful of manners. It went beyond rape, beyond a beating. This was invading her mind, her emotions, not to mention the compulsion she was almost certain he had used. How else was she so obedient, at merely a word? Evil darkfriends, the lot of them! But Rion really was the lesser of two evils. Lavinya briefly contemplated how much worse it would be to have Linten in her head, the madness rife where Rion’s emotions rested quietly; his emotions as he touched her, beat her, used her…Lavinya shuddered. No, she could not let him into her head, could not bear for her bond to pass to him. Her fingers separated, trying to move away from where Linten was tangling his insistently to prove his point. Lavinya pointedly moved her hands away, folding her arms beneath her breasts though she knew it would do little to deter him. She herself knew she could avoid telling the truth without lying as adeptly as any Aes Sedai, but she had hoped he wouldn’t have realised that. A foolish hope. Still, there was no way she could reveal the day’s events to Rion or even Jocelyn without suffering, that much was clear. “I offer you nothing. You take.” Lavinya said, though there was less fire in her tone than before. She was trying to pacify him and escape, not provoke him to further violence. “Rion will not hear of the day’s events from my lips.” A deep soft chuckle rumbled up from his throat to slide over the edge of her ear as she pulled her hand from his; arms crossing under her breasts. His grin increase ten fold. Was she truly so flustered that she did not realize the action only lifted them and emphasized the cleavage under his view from over her shoulder. Or perhaps she truly did want him to draw her in to a release of the flesh. Many enticing thoughts floated through his head as she made her verbal commitment. She was tied to him now in layers she would not realize for a time. A time that he was going to make good use of for both his original goals and a few new one's that had filled his mind since gaining access to this little charm. “Good ..... Good girl,” he leaned back, his hand stroking her hair again briefly before moving back in front of her. He would have to have her back soon if he was to sneak back into his room and get the rest he needed before the nights adventures. Besides he had another toy to play with back there and after this favorable adventure he was infused with new confidence to face Faile and break her as he had begun with the shapely witch before him. With a wave of his hand the weave of air vanished around her. “You are right, I take what it is I want, as I have today. Remember that well.” he sat back into his chair, eyes intent on her's. “If you prefer to avoid the violence and forced situations then I suggest you come next time more open and accepting of your new position. That is,” the smile pulled strong at the corners of his mouth. “Unless deep down you prefer to be taken?” “The wood is your's to return with and perhaps save yourself at least a little of the wrath Jocelyn will have waiting for you. But remember,” his finger came up to wave at her. “You will dream of me tonight and all nights hence.” With that taken care of he simple sat back and watched her, waiting for her next reaction, waiting to see if she would leave right away with the offered freedom. Or if she was still engaged to the game they had in motion already. The chance to study her in such a simple setting was invigorating. Lavinya relaxed slightly as Linten’s touch at last disappeared and he moved a distance away to the chair. His closeness was disturbing; sending waves of nausea mixed with repulsion and a betraying tinge of excitement at having such attention from a man. Lavinya scowled darkly, turning her head to avoid his gaze. What woman would enjoy being taken? All her life, Lavinya had called the shots, leading men on a string as they danced to her tune. To have the control taken from her and turned back at her was disconcerting to say the least, but there was a flutter of…well something in her stomach at the thought, and it terrified her. What kind of person was she? She was losing her wits. Next time…he sounded so very sure that there would be another time. Well, Lavinya certainly had no intention of giving him the opportunity to encounter her alone again, though Jocelyn had been sending her out daily, even when they didn’t need the wood. She would have to find a way around it. Obeying that little fool girl grated on Lavinya more than she liked to admit. Lavinya eyed the wood before turning her calculating gaze back to Linten. Was this another part of the game? Was he toying with her again? Almost hesitatingly she rose, as though certain she would instantly find herself bound once more; but nothing happened. “I have no doubt you will haunt me in my sleep always.” Lavinya muttered, hastily dropping to pick up as much of the wood as she could carry, aware that with her arms full she was again more vulnerable to Linten’s touch, but she felt nothing but his eyes upon her as she knelt in the dirt, further ruining her torn dress. How was she going to explain the tear? Silence, she thought. Silence will be the only way. Rising awkwardly, Lavinya peered over her load long enough to give Linten a hard stare before walking slowly away. Her legs wanted her to run, the dull ache of pain on her spine also tried to spur her on, but Lavinya forced herself to stay calm, taking measured steps. She would not give him the benefit of watching her run away in fear. A strand of air caught her once more, a cat playing with a mouse. She refused to turn and face him, the smile still happily planted on his face. “Perhaps next time you could wear something a little more appropriate.” Mind games, they were a new love of his and in this case they were even more fun then with his mentor and the ranks of the Black Tower. He would have to arrange another game of stones with Jocelyn and perhaps drop a suggestion or two on some chores her redheaded slave could do. Something that would allow him more access to her in seclusion. Her mind would be his, but there was more then the dream with her so near. He released her once more sure she was stewing inside. “Take care not to twist an ankle, I'd hate to have to visit you in the infirmary. Though I suppose I could bath you to help get you on your feet again.” A pained expression crossed Lavinya’s face as she was halted, fumbling her grip on the wood. Would he never leave her be? Refusing to even look his way, Lavinya held still, waiting to either be dragged back and beaten or released. Hopefully he would eventually grow bored with her. The only problem was, there was no way to know how long his attention span was. Wear something more appropriate? Valiantly biting back a scathing retort, Lavinya pictured herself in something akin to armour, likely it was the only thing suitable for a man like Linten. Did he honestly expect her to meet him in a gown she would normally reserve for someone she was trying to attract? Someone like Corin?...Fighting back a fresh wave of depression, Lavinya kept her back to her captor and refused to take the bait, sile
  4. Claire pushed back from her paper-strewn desk with a sigh. The stacks of parchments and even some ancient vellum sheepskins were everywhere; to the uninitiated eye it looked like total chaos. However the disarray had a method in its madness, and Claire could find any small obscure bit of lore the documents contained at will. None of that helps me, of course. Not if the information I seek is not here. She turned in her chair and looked for Selene. The young woman was seated crosslegged on the floor, surrounded by more papers and heavy tomes. Selene seemed to feel Claire's attention upon her; she looked up from the document she was studying and asked, "Is everything all right, Claire?" The ancient Brown smiled, tiny lines crinkling at the corners of her eyes. She had a genuine affection for Selene, like that she had for Shaneevae once. Would that I knew where she was. She isn't a Green, to go haring off after adventure and abandon her duty to us. Light, keep her safe. "Nothing that wasn't already wrong, Selene. I've not had any luck finding what we've been looking for. How about yourself? Have you found anything promising?" Selene shook her head no, and Claire clicked her tongue in disappointment. "Well, that's to be expected, I suppose. The ancient ter'angreal the Tower has records of are a paltry few compared to the actual numbers that once existed. Documents decay, and all that they contained becomes lost to us forever." She stood and stretched, hands on the small of her back. The aches and pains of age were becoming hard to ignore of late. Lowering her hands, she channeled briefly to remove the wrinkles from her amber-colored wool dress. Beckoning for Selene to follow, Claire swept out of the room and into the corridor. They were in the halls above the great library of the White Tower, where many of the Brown sisters kept apartments so as not to be far from their work. "Would you run down to the library and get that last batch of documents and books we have not yet checked? Kerida Sedai should have the list handy and can help you find them. I'd do it myself, but going up and down all those stairs doesn't sound like a good idea for me just now." Selene nodded and turned to leave, but Claire caught her by the sleeve. "Get a Novice to help you carry them back here if you need; some of those tomes are quite heavy, if I remember correctly. I will go and speak with Raeyn Sedai, to see if she knows anything that might help us in our search. I should be back in my study by time you return." She smiled thanks at the young woman, who turned and hurried off down the corridor. Claire turned in the opposite direction, and steeled herself to speak with the head of her Ajah. OOC: I'm being purposefully vague about Selene's standing (Accepted or AS), so play it vague as well so we don't interfere with the space-time continuum lol. You don't *have* to get a Novice PC or even NPC to help you, but I thought if you needed to give a chore or feel like helping a Novice finish a chore requirement, you could. <3!
  5. Murders have run rampant through Tar Valon and more specifically the White Tower's Training Grounds. Tower Guards and Trainees have been downed by the foul hand of one woman. One woman dared tread on the toes of the elite and now pays the price for such fidelity. Rumors run the course of the city of what this person looks like to what her motives were. It's time now for the trial to begin. The yards have all but ceased their training as the trial begins. It seems as though the whole world is set out in the yards where the trial is to be held. We sit and watch, listen and pray to the Creator that this woman is convicted! OOC: This is for IC watchers and silent debates, please no OOC debating here, a thread will be opened for that. The Trial can be seen here: *insert link* Mat
  6. Claire fought the urge to pant as she climbed the spiraling steps towards the Amyrlin's quarters. The exertion paired with carrying the awkward bulkiness of the large book in her arms was putting her in a sour mood. You can refuse to acknowledge the heat all you want but that doesn't change how flaming HOT it is! I am getting too bloody old for this nonsense. For all that Claire had requested this meeting with Shevara, these stairs alone were making her regret the decision. At least she could be assured of a place to sit when she got there. Red Amyrlin or not, Shevara did not seem the kind to make Claire stand to deliver her report. She rounded the last flight of stairs and the ornately carved doors of the Amyrlin's quarters came into view. Claire took a moment to catch her breath at the landing; she tried to straighten her bun, but it was a futile effort. Little wisps of greying dark blonde hair escaped her grasp as always. She pinned the bun back in place with a silver hair pin worked in leaves and let her senses drift towards the chambers ahead of her. She only felt one female channeler, so Shevara was not with her Keeper or another Aes Sedai, at least. That was good; this message needed secrecy. Claire shifted the book awkwardly to her left arm and knocked upon the aged wood, then took a step back to wait. The Amyrlin hurried for no one. Claire al'Windischan Brown Sister
  7. OOC: Continued from here Raslyn nodded at the child's determination and hoped that it would see her through. Too many started off determined only to wane and fall by the wayside. She eyed the young novice in front of her and frowned. The girl was staring into space and looked positively stricken. Oh light, what has happened now. She's not suddenly embraced the Source, so that can't be it. Raslyn ran through the conversation she'd had with the child and couldn't see anything there that would elicit such a reaction. So that left the child's past. "Child?" Raslyn spoke sharply. "Carina!" She repeated her name several times, but to no avail. Eventually she got up and approached the girl, who still staring into space, her breathing becoming laboured. Taking Carina's shoulders she gave the girl a shake "Carina! What's the matter girl?" Raslyn spoke firmly, wondering whether to slap the girl out of her hysterics.
  8. Carina sat cross legged on the floor of the library, cradling the heavy volume on ‘Nature’s Creatures’ in her lap. She came here often in her rare spare times. So often that the Brown sisters no longer looked up in surprise but instead had started to expect her. One day she had decided to go observe the training of the Tower Guard instead and a Brown sister had come to see if she was ok. Thinking her to be sick as she hadn’t been seen in the library for a full two weeks. Her sitting on the ground had stirred up some controverse at first, for surely future Aes Sedai didn’t do such a thing. Raeyn Sedai put a stop to the other sisters pestering the child about it though, as she seemed to understand it was the girl’s preferred position to learn. The Brown never spoke to her, had only glanced at her in passing, her face completely unreadable as always. She still gave Carina the shivers whenever she saw her. “Now where did I see that section about the wolves….” Carina muttered to herself as she flipped rappidly through the pages. The rustling of the pages effectively muted the sound of aproaching slippers and Carina literally jumped up at the sound of a pointed cough right behind her. Towering over her stood the Mistress of Novices, Larindhra Sedai. Carina’s breath caught as her eyes registered the red fringed shawl the sister was wearing. There were not many occasions where the Mistress of Novices wore her shawl and the only reason for doing so when aproaching a novice was an occasion all novices both longed for and feared at the same time. Gulping visibly, Carina got to her feet and offered the sister a perfect curtsey. The volume completely forgotten, which was a clear sign of the girl’s distress and mental state, she followed as the Mistress of Novices turned and led the way out of the library and down the halls of the Tower. Down they went, through corridors Carina had never before seen, where time seemed to have stood still. A weight lay on the young woman’s shoulders that seemed to be growing heavier with each step. She almost felt the gaze of countless people throughout history upon her as they travelled ever down, into the deepest depths of the Tower. Feeling their gaze and wondering if they considered her worthy. The Light knew she didn’t feel she was! Not yet! There was still so much to learn! Calm yourself, woman. Carina berated herself in silence and automatically slipped into performing her novice exercises. She followed Larindhra to a huge double door that smoothly opened upon their aproach and entered into a domed chamber. Carina gulped then, standing in front of the famed Ter’Angreal known to the novices as the ‘Arches’. The device that would test each of them towards becoming Accepted, the next step on the road to becoming Aes Sedai. She still couldn’t believe this was happening. The Accepted all seemed so much smarter and stronger than herself. They were, after all, only a very small step removed from sisterhood themselves. Would she shame herself today? Her mentor, who had so steadily broken down her fear of the Red Ajah and who had been a steadfast beacon throughout her years at the Tower? Her savior… Carina blinked then. Recalling the man who had died for her, to see her to the Tower safely. Who, three years ago, made the ultimate sacrifice so she could stand here today. As always, her resolve returned and her determination fastened. She would not fail them. When the Mistress of Novices spoke, Carina was ready. As ready as she would ever be. Looking around the chamber, the young woman’s appearance was that of utter calm and acceptance. Her eyes took it all in while her mind held fast to the image of the man who now symbolised her courage, her determination and her drive. The ter’angreal known as ‘the Arches’ was made of three rounded silver arches, each just tall enough to walk under, sitting on a thick silver ring with their ends touching each other. Where arch touches ring, an Aes Sedai sat on the floor, concentrating on the silvery construction. There was a sister of the Gray, the White and the Yellow Ajah. A fourth Aes Sedai, this one of the Blue Ajah, stood beside a table on which sat three silvery chalices filled with clear water. All four Aes Sedai and the Mistress of Novices wore their shawls. Larindhra Sedai stepped in front of Carina and spoke: “two things shall I tell you now that no woman hears until she enters this room. Once you begin, you must continue to the end. Refuse to go on and, no matter your potential, you will be very kindly put out of the Tower with enough silver to support you a year, and you will never be allowed back. Second. To seek, to strive, is to know danger. You will know danger here. Some women have entered, and never come out. When the ter”angreal was allowed to grow quiet, they - were - not - there. And they were never seen again. If you will survive, you must be steadfast. Faltering leads to a failure.” A pause in which Carina nodded her understanding of the rules and the Mistress of Novices continued. “This is your last chance, child. You may turn back now, and you will have only one mark against you. Twice more will you be allowed to come here, and only at the third refusal will you be put out of the Tower. It is no shame to refuse. Many cannot do it their first time here. Now you may speak.” Carina took one last deep breath and answered in a clear voice, “I am ready, Aes Sedai.” Larindhra nodded and turned towards the Ter’Angreal which indicated the start of the canon as was done for each of these ceremonies. The blue sister beside the table spoke solomnly and clearly, “Whom do you bring with you, Sister?” Larindhra answered, “One who comes as a candidate for Acceptance, Sister.” “Is she ready?” “She is ready to leave behind what she was, and, passing through her fears, gain Acceptance.” “Does she know her fears?” “She has never faced them, but now is willing.” “Then let her face what she fears.” Larindhra then turned back to the novice and instructed her to strip down to her skin. The young woman blinked once, as she had totally forgotten that part and blushed a bright red as she hurried to obey, putting her cloths neatly folded on the chair that was put there for that purpose. She thought she saw a glimps of amusement in the Red’s eye before she led Carina towards the first Arch. “The first time is for what was. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.”
  9. Poetic Death no more speach, but their souls are screaming when life is taken, the soul will rise no more heart beat, but the fire is alive from warm flesh, to a lifeless cold no more sight, but they can see the sorrow eyes are closed, but truth burns through no more life, but my memory is full friends are gone, but memory be true The battle was over. Death scattered the playing field like broken chess pieces that could no longer be given name to. Her eyes carefully turned and looked over each face. It was all a blur to her in more ways than just her eyes. The glass that once settled on the bridge of her nose was shattered on the ground among those that were dead. Man, Woman, Aes Sedai... Age gave no heed nor warning to the toll.. the cost for the lives lost this day. Each a thread that influenced so many in turn were now cut, ripped away from the pattern to be woven into the next age. -Light Guard Us..- The Battle may be over, but this war was far from completing its cycle. -How many more of us will die?- The numbers and percentages that only caused a damp cold under her skin. Maegan Ryanne shivered. Aes Sedai, and yet the tears rolled down her cheek as the pain of loss was no longer kept from her face. The one that held her bond would have felt her pain instantly, there was no longer a reason to hide it. However the pain was not consuming. It was a comfort. To stand amongst the dead knowing that once again she survived to fight anouther day. What would be the price for her life be this time? How many more times would she be able to cheat death? For it to pass over her as her thread continued to spin weaves in the worlds Pattern. When would it end? These were questions often asked but never voiced, never answered and never in need of an answer. Instead of letting the inner monologue fester in her mind along with the dull numb of confusion, fear, and hatred that settled in the back of her mind Maegan settled on a course of action. Action was better than silence. The day was not over regardless of whether it was moon or sun overhead. The day was not over until all could be laid to rest. "A shovel, if possible." She spoke to one that was still standing, her bond-holder useless and sitting on the ground. She could feel his eyes watching her. Maegan paid the boy no mind. "Why? So you can attack us with it instead of your bloody power?" The man sneered at her. She could hear the pain that laced his hate and sarcastic words. "What is your name?" "Req." He was surprised. "I am Mae. These are my sisters. My brothers." Her words soft and held no more emotion than the pain and compassion that she felt. "And they are yours." "You are not one of us." "My bond to one of you suggests otherwise." Tilting her head she repeated herself, "I requested for a shovel. I wish to put my family to rest. Unless you have objections to me digging a few holes." The man glared at her before turning around braely muttering a -No.- and walked off in whichever direct he intended. Pausing Maegan took a moment to rub her right temple as her mind worked furiously. Without her spectacles seeing was harder and with the amout she challenged she was not entirely drained but the excursion of channelling, sparing and noe being unable to see along with an unintelligible bond in the back of her mind was causing a headache to form. There was too much chaos to sort through that even the Highest could grasp it all in the moments that followed the wake of its end. The worst part was that there was very little way to know what had caused such an outcome. Toiling Maegan frowned as she stood there separating her thoughts and emotions into the Void to keep her bond holder from becoming too curious. Unknown to Bonding and what it all entailed Maegan had no wish for one so young to know or even see a glimpse of the inner workings of the Tower. Replaying the Halls orders over and over again in her mind, she could not recall any plausible reason for the Hall to send so many Full Sisters to unlock the mysterious information that each Eye and Ear was receiving from Caemlyn. The possibility that the E&E's were miss informed to this degree was highly underestimated by all of them, but that left no purpose for them to leave. Maegan silently fumed, feeding it into the Void. She had only agreed to join the company to oversee and take notes. Were there to be any Male Channelers it would be departmental for one of the Red Shawl to be among the masses. Thus lead to both her and Muirenn signing their name into the roaster. Now the Eldest was stilled. Stilled! She shook her head as Req returned, passed her the spade, and then left her alone. Alone to stand amoung the rubble and chaos of death that lay at her feet. Stealing away one past moment, she whispered a prayer that she had not spoken since she had been a child in her fathers house. A prayer for the Living. A Prayer for the Dead. A prayer that the Creator of Light guard them in the final days to come. A prayer to feel less alone. Maegan Ryanne Sedai The Highest Now you still speak of day old hate Though your whole world has gone up into flames And isn't it great to find that you're really worth nothing And how safe it is to feel safe... The things we do just to stay alive Day Old Hate - City and Colour Poem - "Poetic Death" - Vespera "Ves" Renard (BFF)
  10. Nynaeve paced in her office from one side to the other, her mind racing. She couldn't understand how people could be so foolish. So reckless with another person's life. If she only could, she would pummel them until they saw reason, regardless of the amount of pummeling that required. She suspected it would keep her occupied for a day or two, pending on her determination. In her shopping in Tar Valon Nynaeve came across a married couple. The woman passed out and hurt her head from the fall. Nynaeve hurried to her and just when she was about to heal her, her husband pushed her away. She had to keep Damian at bay because he was well on his way to drawing out his sword and carving some new holes into the man. "Keep your filthy hands off of my wife, witch", he said. Nynaeve tried to talk some sense into the man. After all it was his wife and her life could very well be in danger if there was any internal bleeding. But the man wouldn't hear about it. He carried her off, against Nynaeve's explicit warnings that it might worsen her state. But the man was blinded by his hate. Enough to toy with his wife's life. And so, Nynaeve returned to the tower, but she couldn't relax. She was literally climbing the walls, wondering if the woman was alright. She felt the sort of helplessness that ate her up from the inside. And there was nothing she could do to make it go away. A knock on the door admitted Kiyissalle into the study. Nynaeve sighed. She completely forgot that she summoned the girl. But the quicker she dealt with her, the better it would be. "I trust you've settled in and that your current classes are going well." It was a rhetorical question and Nynaeve didn't pause to give Kiyi any time to form a response. "Some of the stable boys caught something. Well, I imagine one of them did and passed it on to the rest. As it were, they're recovering at the moment which leaves the stables poorly tended. Novices are sent there in shifts to keep it at least minimum conditions. After all, the horses need not suffer." Nynaeve strolled to the window and peered out, trying her best not to think of the woman's face. "You will find in the stables what you need to clean. And the food should be there by now, next to the entrance. I will come to monitor you later today. I expect to find the place spotless and the horses well fed. If you have any doubt, feel free to ask Joseph, the only stable boy that didn't fall ill. He should be about. You are excused." The only indication to Kiyissalle leaving was the sound of the door closing behind her. Nynaeve never turned to verify it. Her mind was already far away. Nyn Yellow
  11. It couldn't be possible to be any more dust logged than she was already but Kiyissalle found herself looking forward to the reprieve that arrival at the White Tower would bring. She was tired, she was dirty and all the stour was making her throat worse than normal. She'd had to cough several times to clear it enough just to reply to the Brown Sister's chit chat. Longing for some cool clear water, Kiyi patted at the silk skirts of her dress and watched as clouds of dust rose from the ruined material. She wondered idly if her parents would have been quite so keen to let her leave if they'd known that she would be sleeping rough more often than not. The Brown had stated that it was best to avoid unnecessary attention and then had not vouchsafed another word on the topic. Not that Kiyi objected to sleeping under the stars. The weather had held fair and the novelty had not yet worn off. Still, a bath would be about the best thing in the world for her aching muscles. Even as an accomplished horsewoman, she had never been accustomed to riding from sun up to sun down and the exercise was taking its toll. Finally though, the small group arrived in Tar Valon, quickly crossing the bridge over the Esendrelle Erinin and making their way past the ancient Ogier Grove. The Sister pointed out places of note as they picked a route through the bustling crowds on the city streets. Kiyi's eyes were everywhere taking in as much as she could, for though she'd visited Cairhien with her parents on several occasions, this was Tar Valon and an altogether different kettle of fish. As with any visitor to the island, her gaze was drawn again and again to the tall, elegant Tower dominating the landscape. It was so big and so beautiful... and it was to be her home. She still hadn't wrapped her mind around that fact by the time they reached the Tower Grounds and she could feel the impact of the place up close and personal. The whole structure oozed authority and power as did the ageless faces of the Sisters they passed more frequently now. Inwardly, the self composed girl realised at last the enormity of what was about to happen to her and began to quake. She was going to give up all that she knew for the chance to become Aes Sedai and to commit her life to this White Tower. Should she change her mind? Did she want to? Kiyi shook her head as though to rid herself of a buzzing insect, brushing the thoughts aside and dismounting before following the Brown up the main steps. Well, this is it. There'll be no going back. Kiyi compressed her lips and threw her shoulders back with a determined air as she passed under the portal and into the Tower.
  12. If an outsider looked upon the two women riding at even pace toward the village named the Black Tower, they wouldn't have been able to read any signs of agitation or nervousness from the demeanour of the Aes Sedai and the Tower Guard holding upright the peace flag. The Gray Sister had thrown behind her hood to reveal a smooth ageless face and underneath the practiced facade her stomach was on knots like every time before an important negotiation and even more so now because of who would sit behind the other side of the table. Annais tried to remember everything Estel had told her of her observations and go through once again her instructions and the background information. An agent in Caemlyn had reported that there were four hundred men in the Black Tower by counting supply carts but Sirayn Simeone and the Sitters had believed that only a few of them could channel. And as a result they had sent eleven Sisters and Tower Guards there to investigate and observe. Aes Sedai were hardly the sneakiest people there were and with such a crowd it had been impossible to not spot them. Unbidden and unannounced as they had come, it was no wonder that the Asha'man had thought it was an attack although what they had thought such a small party could accomplish was beyond her. But after Dumai's Well and thousands of years of Gentling, the male channelers didn't have much love lost for the White Tower. She prayed from the bottom of her heart that none of Asha'men bonded to the Aes Sedai hadn't found out of the secret orders of field Gentlings that the Sisters were to perform if they encountered mad male channelers. She wondered again how many of the Sisters had actually known of the orders when the Sitters hadn't and what on earth had Sirayn Simeone been smoking the day she had decided to go against the Amnesty the Dragon had given to the Asha'men. Estel had kept her secret but if anyone in the Black Tower knew, it would make her work even more difficult than it was already when she had to balance between being reconciliatory and maintaining the Tower's dignity. Light, there were five hundred male channelers. She would be all alone there save for Mia Stavros and even Mia couldn't help her and even less the captured Sisters. They relied on her, the whole Tower relied on her and she had to suppress viciously her doubts that she just couldn't do it. The Sitters had trusted her and when twenty one powerful women agreed on something, you just had to believe it. And she had been on rough spots before. Novice excercises, they were good. She just had to concentrate on her breathing and feeling the wind on her face, being the wind in a corn field and river held by its banks. They were starting to get closer to the Black Tower and she could pick out the unfinished structure of the black wall and some buildings behind it. Such grandiose plans they had. The wall ran for eight miles and would enclose four square miles of ground. Nowhere was the wall finished yet, nowhere more than twelve or fifteen feet and none of the towers and bastions had been more than begun. Estel had told her that the ground was marked off for structures the Asha'man claimed would one day dwarf the White Tower. Typical male thinking. But for now they lived in barracks and houses scattered in between where the married men and their families lived. It had sounded so very normal and Annais had to admire the love that wouldn't turn its back even when the husband turned out to be someone who was destined to go horribly mad from channeling one day. There was a large gateway leading to one of the wide streets and she directed Strider toward it. She could make out two black cloaked forms, one on each side of the gate and as they neared the men, she noticed the silvery glimmer of a sword pin on their collar. It marked them Dedicated. She stopped her horse and looked down upon a sour faced older man who was chewing tabac. "I am Annais Nevell Aes Sedai of the Gray Ajah. I have come to speak with the M'Hael. Where can I find Dalinarius Traachenshield?" The man blinked a few times and exchanged a look with the other guardian. Then he spat a brownish slobber to the ground. "Dalinarius ain't the M'Hael no more", the Dedicated grunted and Annais was proud of herself for managing to not let her shock show. Maybe this was the start of their strategy to get her upset but it just couldn't be true. Leaders didn't change in few days all the sudden like that. "Excuse me?", she asked with an elegant arch of an eyebrow. "Something wrong with yer ears, Aes Sedai? I said Dalinarius. Ain't. The. M'Hael. No more. Got it?" Bloody flaming balls of the Dark One. This couldn't be happening. Dalinarius had been trained by the Tower Guards. He had been somewhat symphatetic toward the White Tower and Annais had been preparing her whole negotiation strategy based on what little she knew of him. And how she would have to face a total unknown who would likely have alot more negative attitude. If there even would be any negotiations. Dear Light, things were truly going to the Pit of Doom in a hand basket. "What happened to him?", she blurted and the man looked at her with disgust. "That ain't none of yer business, wi..." "Forgive Marten here", the other Dedicated chimed in giving a stern look at the other man. "He is just an unpleasent bastard. The new M'Hael Brent Enios will receive you, Annais Sedai. He has left us orders to escort you there. Marten, you will stay here and I will go." Relief flooded into Annais when she heard that she would at least get to speak with the new leader. Maybe there she would find out what had become of Dalinarius. If there was some kind of an internal strife in the Black Tower, there might be some way to utilize it. Or then it could endanger the negotiations completely. Brent Enios... it sounded like an Illianer name and she looked at Mia questioningly. The woman nodded and Annais was fairly certain that it was a confirmation about his nationality. It would have been good to know more but if wishes were fishes, everyone would cast nets. She did not like entering situations entirely blindly but she had been given some time to complete the talks. Now some of it would have to be spent to get to know the other party and she prayed that the negotiations would turn out favourably. "Thank you Dedicated. Please lead the way." She urged her dappled mare to follow the blackcoat and reached for her saddle bags for the small box where she held her cigars. She needed a smoke badly and in a situation like this she would allow herself one. She didn't even care if it would be percieved as a sign of weakness but she had to reach her calm again. "Young man, would you offer me fire." It wouldn't be polite to channel herself here unless she was given the permission to do so and she wasn't going to use a tinder box now. The Dedicated stopped on his tracks and gave her an astonished look. A small flame appeared on top of his opened palm and Annais reached over and lighted her cigar. "Thank you", she murmured. Despite her mental preparations it was still frightening to see Saidin wielded so casually but she would have to get used to it. The first lungful of smoke was blissful and she was feeling much better and surer of herself by the time her small cigar was almost done with and they approached the house where the M'Hael resided. Annais would have expected something much grander but the furniture they passed was fairly simple and seemed to have been gathered from many different places. She tried to smooth herself by noticing small details but it would have been an understatement to say that she was nervous by the time the Dedicated knocked the door of the M'Hael's office. A deep voice called them to enter and the door revealed a stocky man sitting behind a large desk. He looked like an image of a soldier and his beard that left the upper lip bare definately confirmed his origin. Smiling slightly Annais inclined her head and begun the short speech she had prepared in a hurry. "Greetings M'Hael Enios and congratulations on your promotion. I am glad that you received me despite the recent changes in the Black Tower's chain of command. I am Annais Nevell of the Gray Ajah and this is Mia Stavros, the Tower Guard who delivered the earlier message. Before anything else I would like to express my sincere condolences for the losses the Black Tower suffered due to the misunderstandment caused by the party the White Tower sent. May the Light shine on their souls and the Creator shelter them on his palm." She bent her head reverently and stood silent for a moment to respect the dead. "The White Tower wishes for good relations with the Asha'man as we will have to fight side by side in the near future. I hope that our negotiations will be able to return some goodwill between the White and the Black Tower." Annais Nevell Gray Sister
  13. Ignorance was never bliss. In fact it was one of the few things she hated with a passion. In others, perhaps, she could forgive ignorance, but Aramina sur Dulciena, Sister of the Green Ajah, could not forgive ignorance in herself. In her childhood she had hated that her village lay too far away from Cairhein to hear the news quickly. As a Novice she had been faced with her all too ignorant dealings with the One Power. In her life as an Accepted, she had remembered the outside world again and had tried to learn everything she could. The problem was in finding someone that would relay any information to her. When she had reached the Shawl, in truth not just in name, it was one of the things she had set about to cure. Ignorance was like most diseases. There was a cure if you were willing. A smile breached her lips as the thought crossed her mind. Take what you want and pay the price. That thought had taken her far from her home in the White Tower and brought her across the land into strange cities and customs. Unlike some of her counterparts in the White Tower, Aramina did not try to stand above those around her. She was learning about the customs of each land as she went, travelling as a merchant, and dressing as the customs dictated. She didn't have the ageless look of Aes Sedai yet so her face didn't give her away. She had visited many places in her tour, but in Arad Doman she had stayed the longest. The ways were so foreign to the Cairhein native that she had struggled with the customs almost as much as with the dress. Aramina's ignorance of customs was being cured, but that was secondary. The true purpose in her journeys had been to set up a network of eyes and ears. She hoped one day they would rival even the Blue sisters for their legendary legions of informants in the world. It was lucky for her that the Green Ajah had a history of letting it's youngest sisters run off into the world to get some experience before coming back to face off with whatever the Tower needed. There had been little questioning as to why she wanted to be out in the world. In fact, Aramina was quite certain that the Captain General had understood exactly what she was doing without having been told, and that she approved. Sirayn Sedai would accept ignorance as an excuse as soon as Aramina would. But her mental wanderings were getting her no where at the moment. She had been looking for a specific inn and had yet to find it. Directions given to her by 3 different people had all told her to go a different way and not a one was in the same direction. So far Aramina had gotten one innkeeper that she felt would send her news when it came, but you always needed more than one source. She was looking for a second source. She had a number of Innkeepers in her employ already from her travels. They learned news quickly and no one wondered why they were asking. She was so caught up in what she was thinking that she almost missed it. Almost. That glimmer of something, that recognition of a similiar being close by. Aramina stopped and looked around, surveying her surroundings. She ran a hand across her flimsy green dress. Even if she was dressing in outlandish clothing, she had made sure her colors were still worn proud. That, at least, gave her some feeling of familiarity as she had looked at herself in the mirror. Her hair was still hanging in loose curls down her back, but she had forgone the elaborate braids that she normally wore and instead it was pulled back with a simple band to hold it. Few that knew her would recognize Aramina as she was. She finally laid eyes on the problem. A young Domani woman across the street. She seemed quiet and almost shy in the way she carried her body. Her brown hair hung in hurls to her shoulders. Short for Domani, but no denying the coppery skin. And no denying the pull that Aramina felt towards her. She took a deep breath. There was a way to tell. She looked again at the girl and wondered, if she passed, what the White Tower would make her into. She sighed. Sometimes, she thought as she watched the girl for a moment longer, ignorance is bliss. She let a smile grace her face then and schooled her features to an expression of curiosity. "Excuse me child. I was wondering if I could have a moment of your time. I'm trying to find an inn called the Wandering Ways. Could you direct me?" She asked politely.
  14. Christine Sedai DM Member Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 242 Location: the BEACH! Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 4:27 pm Post subject: Becoming a sister... or not? (Christines Oaths, attn: Green) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Walking through the yards, Christine smiled as she made it to the Oak tree where she and Aran often practiced. They had taken many naps under that tree, saying they were in meditaion. And how many times had she gotten thrown into the water bucket just a few feet away? Not as many times as she had deserved. It felt so lonely, practicing alone, but Aran had gotten called in to watch the wall that afternoon, and as she didn’t feel like studying, she decided to spend it training. She held out the sword before her, and entered her void. It was a peaceful river, calm and just. It filled her, just like the power did. It was this calm nature that readied her for battle. Breathing thru her nose, she stepped back on her left foot, and brought the sword down from high left to low right, before stepping back on her right foot and moving to the side on her left foot and swinging the sword from high right to low left. Her feet turned as she slid around, whipping the sword as she then thrust forwards, stepping with her right foot. She no longer had to memorixe the steps and think about it. It just came to her. The steps were natural, and she repeated the moves again. Her steps were light and graceful, and her sword was whipping around, ready to slice anything that got in its wait. Perhaps it was the void that made her lose her hearing from the calling, or perhaps she just wished to hear nothing. But as she turned, she thought she saw a grey shawl, and stopped on the thrust. It was an Aes Sedai, dressed as if something was happening, and it could be good or bad. Walking forward, Christine sheathed her sword as she whipped off the sweat on her forhead. Doing an awkward curtsy to Fearzyne Sedai, the Mistress of Novices, she began to explain why she, an Accepted, was in the Warders Yard. “Hello, Aes Sedai, I was only training, I promise you-“ but she was cut off with a serious look that would have stopped the most firey tongue. Light! If she got sent to the farm again, she didn’t know what she would do. It had destroyed her novicehood, being sent to that place, and she would do anything to keep from going back. Even thought it had been 9 years since she had been a novice, the 33-year-old longed to have nothing to do with that Light-forsaken place. “Christine Segrto, you are summoned to be tested for the shawl of an Aes Sedai; the Light keep you whole and see you safe.†Fear struck like a smack on the face. Being tested? Now? She would no longer where the white dress with banded hem? She would be free? Happiness ran through her as she nodded, but at the same time, she wondered if she would pass. What would she do if she failed? Would she even live to come out? Would anyone even mourn her death? More than likely, no. She was alone. But if she passed, she would have sisters. The ideas and thoughts ran through her head, and she nodded slowly. Turning, she followed the Aes Sedai back to the tower, her head hung down as she stared at her sword-torn hands. She even played with her sword as she followed along, and fear ran down her spine as she glanced up at the tower. It seemed so much bigger, now that she knew she would soon be a real part of it. As a novice, you thought you were so important. When it came to being an Accepted, you thought you would never make it. And it was right then, when she looked up, she knew that something great was about to happen to her, and everything was about to change. She didn’t know what would truly happen when she stepped into her testing, but she was afraid of that too. Her arches had ripped her to pieces in the days after as her fears were relived before her. The walked through the tower slowly, both with their mouths shut. They passed a few people, mostly servants, and no one looked at her. They all knew what was going on. No one could miss the seriousness of the testing. There were two massive doors that opened, and she followed Fearzyne Sedai. They walked some more, and they entered into a large room, much like that when her arches were taken. There was a large ring in the center of the room, and light seemed to reflect from it as she saw her doom and future in its ring. There was a ring of Aes Sedai around the center of the room- one of each ajah, and the Mistress of Novices took her place. “Attend,†was all she said, and she saw the sisters obey. It struck her then that this was the defining moment of all her studies, of all her hard work, and all her failures and victories. Now, she was on the chopping block, and she could only pray to the light it didn’t cost her her life. And the ceremony began: “You come in ignorance Christine Segreto, how would you depart?†She swallowed, and Christine looked around at the Aes Sedai staring at her. Her eyes slowly returned to Faerzyne. “In Knowledge of Myself,†she heard herself say. “For what reason have you been summoned here?†Oh, Light! Someone help me please, she begged silently. She knew what she should answer, and while the Aes Sedai seemed so certain she was ready, she was not. She hardly even trusted herself… how could they trust her? “To be tried.†Her heart raced as she said it, and the ceremony continued “For what reason should you be tried?†Oh, Light! This wasn’t right! She shouldn’t have ever come to the tower- not if she was doubting herself now. But there was a voice that answered the question. “So that I may learn whether I am worthy.†And learn she would. Perhaps she was ready… she prayed she was. “For that would you be found worthy?†And here it was: she just blurted it out. “To wear the shawl.†And now, her testing was here. She knew nothing more. Now, she was on the chopping block, and the Aes Sedai all held an axe. It was now or never… and she prayed that she would live to tell. She was asked to undress, and she slipped off everything, and left her sword with it all. Perhaps that would earn points with the Green Sisters… or perhaps it wouldn’t. She ran through the random weaves, but all she thought of were sword steps. What would steps help her if all she had was the power, with no sword to help her? She walked towards the oval, and took one last look around. The Aes Sedai that stared at her showed no emotion on their face, and she knew then, that she was ready. Stepping into the oval, she was looking into almost complete darkness with only a small light from the moon shining down on her. One hundred weaves had to be formed, and one hundred weaves were what she would give. She began slowly, and after 20, she heard a voice in her ear. “Hello, child. We have been waiting for you…†She continued the weaves, her eyes almost shut in fear. She knew that voice… it was her bitch of a mother- that nasty darkfriend who had betrayed her, and joined the Shadow. 25 weaves, and she heard another voice. “Come on, Christine, you know you want the power.†That was her father. She knew what they wanted. They wanted her soul. It went back and forth between them as she continued her weaves, but as she neared 50, her heart almost stopped. Trollocs were coming towards her, with a Myddrral leading them. She continued the weaves, and they came closer, the voices continuing. Back and forth they went, with the trollocs running full force. It was 72 weaves when the trollocs came before her. She clenched her eyes as they came at her, continuing the weaves, and the beasts disappeared. But the voices continued. “So you have stood against trollocs… You have power in deed. But we will find you, and we will take you. Every Aes Sedai shall die to find you. And we shall claim you as one of ours, one for the Shadow.†It was 85 weaves, and her knees almost gave out as the battering continued. In the distance was a man, walking towards her slowly. She ignored the man, and concentrated on the weaves. 95… “Do you see that man? He is one of the Shadow’s, and he can channel…†Her skin prickled as he stopped ten paces away, and she completed weave 98. Only two more. A fire ball came at her from the man, and she yelped as another two followed. 99 weaves completed… “We shall have your soul, you whore, one day, we shall have your soul.†100. The man disappeared as the fire balls did, and the voices went away. And she almost fell to the ground, utterly exhausted. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ She was led to her rooms, and said nothing. Sleep would over come her any minute now, and as she made it to her room, she made a weak curtsy. Thoughts ran through her head as she fell onto her bed, but she pushed them away. She had passed her testing, and would soon be an Aes Sedai. She had done it. Now to join the ranks of the Green Sisterhood… Woken around dawn, she saw seven sisters before her. One spoke softly. “It is time.†She got out of the bed, still wearing what she had worn the night before. Light! Even her sword was still on her hip! How tired had she been? They gave her no time to take it off, and she followed them quietly. They entered the same room as the night before, and she was greeted by the Amyrlin Seat and Keeper of the Chronicles. The sisters lined up behind her, and she knew that now was the time to truly become an Aes Sedai. Pride filled her, and she stepped forward. The Mother spoke calmly and clearly for all to hear. “Who comes here?†Christine was more ready than ever. Where as the night before she had been terrified, she was now more certain of herself than ever. She would be an Aes Sedai… here it was! “Christine Segreto†“For what reason do you come?†â€To swear the three oaths and thereby claim the shawl of an Aes Sedai,†Christine replied. “By what right do you claim this burden?†“By right of having made the passage, submitting myself to the will of the White Tower.†She still felt the pain of the night before, and she knew that a world of challenges were facing her. But she would make it. Light! She hoped she made it. “Then enter, if you dare, and bind yourself to the White Tower.†She looked around the group of Aes Sedai behind her, and a smile went across her face. Here it was, her time, and she would be choosing her Ajah, and they would welcome her. She stepped up to the Amyrlin Seat, who held the Oath Rod in her hands as the Keeper gave ot to her. She was handed the rod, and Christine looked at it in awe. Here it was. Her whole life had been waiting for it. “Under the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will speak no word that is not true.†Oath one... â€Under the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will make no weapon for one man to kill another.†Oath two…“Under the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will never use the One Power as a weapon except against shadowspawn, or in the last extreme of defending my life, or that of my warder, or another sister.†Oath three… she was a sister. She fetl a tightening over her as the oaths settled. She was an Aes Sedai. She had done it. All of her hard work had not been in vain. She returned the Oath Rod to the Amyrlin Seat, and a smile was across her face, which was gladly returned. “It is half done, with the White Tower engraved on your bones. Rise now, Aes Sedai, and choose your Ajah and all will be done that may be done under the Light.†Turning, Christine looked at the Aes Sedai before her. Scanning over the group, she walked slowly towards them, her eyes scanning them. They rested on the Green sisters, and she stepped forward, stopping before them. Everyone else left the room, and she saw a shawl in their hands, the one she longed to wear. Clearing her voice, she looked into their eyes, no fear to be seen. “I beg acceptance into the Battle Ajah.†And it was done. She had done it. No matter what came her way, she was now a sister. She had traveled all this way, and she had made it. Nothing would hold her back now… _________________ Christine Segretto~Sister of the Green Ajah~WS2 Deniera l'Spada~Trainee WS4 Carsane Evera, High Seat of House Sadma How much odder can life get? Apollodoria27 DM Member Joined: 29 Apr 2005 Posts: 108 Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 9:12 pm Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ooc- I assume this would be before Jade's dark period and in fact before she even meets Seia. So here goes, back in time! Jaydena rolled from the bed and walked to the window, her eyes roamed over the ground below her as the moonlight shone on her bare skin. She looked over at the empty bed and wished that she didn't have to climb back into the empty and cold bed. She ran her hands over her hands over her hourglass figure and wished that she didn't feel so alone, that she didn't feel like there was meant to be something more. Padding across the room in the moonlight her feet fell soft on the thick carpets she had gotten in Illian, she made her way to the bathroom and began preparing for the coming day. She couldn't force herself to get back into the cold bed anyway, it just seemed like hard stone to her anyway. Time passed and she climbed from the tub, she looked down at her body and examined the bruised that marked her pale skin. She had been training harder than ever, not just because she was a Green and she knew hard times were coming but also because it helped take away the lonliness. Jade walked from her bathroom and stepped toward her wardrobe inside her rom, she pulled her undergarments from inside and quickly dressed in a pair of tight green britches, a leather green vest, a white shirt, and knee high black leather boots. She walked to the side of her bed and picked up her sword and her short staves from where they leaned against the headboard. Hooking the belt for the staves around her waist one way she hefted the sword and looked down at it. It was made of hard metal and it was likely to be her only bed companion, it was sad and true fact that most Aes Sedai didn't spend their lives in happy and blissful conditions. She would likely die on some misty battleground and would only be remembered by those who had known her and with time her memory would fade and the only trace of her would be her part of the Vault. Shaking her head at the way her thoughts were turning she strapped the sword on her other hip and clasped the green velvet cloak with rabbit fur lining it and slide her hands wearing her serpent ring into the black leather rabbit fur lined gloves and walked out the door. It was time to train and take her thoughts from the lonely and short life ahead of her. Leaving her quarters she wove a ward around her rooms and alked quickly to a tapestry of a battle 500 years ago or more. Looking around she pulled it out and slipped behind it, she jogged down the steps and ran out into the garden that was just beginning to awake. The light glistened on the early morning dew as the sun rose over the Tower. She stopped for a moment and took a deep breath, pushing the ache from her heart as she ran out into the yard and began stretching before her work-out. Some time later she pushed the sweat from her eyes and regarded the Trainee she had just taught a lesson. He had swaggered up to her despite the fact that he knew what and ageless face looked like and acted like he was women's gift from the Creator and she should just jump into bed with him. Their spar had quickly taught him that he didn't want a woman with more power than him. She chuckled as she remembered his face and ran back up to her quarters. As she reached her quarters she saw a novice standing at her door. The young lady curtsied and said, "I am sorry Aes Sedai, I was about to come looking for you when you weren't here. This letter was sent to you." Jaydena thanked the novice and took the note from her, with a deft move of her hand and an a quick move she embraced the source, took the weave off from around her room and stepped inside. When she opened the letter she saw that a Accepted had passed the test and would now take the oaths to become an Aes Sedai. This one was expected to go green and Jade was looking forward to leading her on the right path. Making her way into the bathroom to change and wash the sweat from her body she glanced around the room and then set her sword down next to the bed... Two hours later she emered from hr room, she was now dressed in a emerald green dress with silver stars embroidered on it. Matching earring flashed in her ears, along with a necklace, and bracelet on her right wrist. Her hair was piled on her head and little sticks that looked like swords held the mass in place. Her emerald green fringed shawl with leaves across it shone in the light and she had adopted the serene expression of an Aes Sedai. Forgetting her weakness of the morning she walked on and soon reached the room where the child would swear her oaths. With a graceful glide she took her spot and waited for the ceremony to begin. A short time passed before the room had filled and the Accepted stood before the Amyrlin swearing the oaths to the Tower. Jade nodded as the woman stiffened when the oaths bond her and then stood, looking around the room, and then made her way toward them. She stopped in front of them and the rest of the other ajahs left when they saw where she was. Jaydena waited for her to speak and when she asked for acceptance into the green she said, "So you have chosen the green?" The new Sister whose name was Christine nodded and Jaydena returned her nod. "Well it's a hard ajah and a hard road, we begin it by taking you to our Captain General." She nodded and began walking through the Tower with the other sitters. They had soon reached the Green Quarters and she knocked on the door on her Ajah Heads door. _________________ Jaydena Sedai Sitter of the Green Lyssa Simeone Tower Guard Last edited by Apollodoria27 on Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:30 pm; edited 1 time in total Allisa DM Member Joined: 31 Dec 1969 Posts: 370 Location: The Far Reaches of Maine Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:38 am Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Though she stood still as a stone, her eyes sharp on the newest supplicant grasping the Oath Rod, Kareja’s thoughts were half a world away and whirling through her mind like a storm wind. Rumors and reports hinted at dark days on the horizong and she rankled at the political fetters that kept her tied to the Tower and thought wistfully (and she admitted to herself far too fondly) of the days when she herself had been a newly raised Sister, free to roam at will and meddle where she may. Green, indeed, but not only in the color of her Ajah. And of course she was not as free to roam and meddle as she would have liked. Too many people, royal and common, seemed to have forgotten the respect and courtesy due an Aes Sedai even in the years of her youth. Eyes filled with fear wherever she had wandered. Faces became closed when her own ageless countenance appeared. Ears strained when she spoke, searching for hidden meanings and twisted words. Not that the Tower has proven to be much different. Here, the game of dancing words was played with a more serious aim. Here, the fate of the world could rest on a well placed word, an arched eyebrow, a slight frown. Her own Aunts, the Light bless their souls, who could dance words or daggers with the best of them, might have found their tongues tied in the White Tower. Now she studied the newest woman to place her life in service to the Tower. Christine Segreto, a countrywoman of Kareja’s though of course once one vowed to the Tower such allegiances were past. Still they could have been true sisters were it not for the flush and eagerness of youth in Christine’s as she faced the three Green Sisters squarely. “I beg acceptance into the Battle Ajah.†Kareja snorted but said nothing. Beg indeed. Together the three Sitters led their newest recruit toward her new life, Kareja making a mental note to pull her fellow Domani aside at the earliest opportunity and instruct her on leaving her begging days far behind her. Battle Sisters demanded. Kareja Nuitari Green Sitter The Battle is all Sirayn DM Member Joined: 31 Dec 1969 Posts: 250 Location: England Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 3:00 pm Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If anyone had told her twenty years ago that soon enough she would give up the soldier’s life, always on the road with saidar her only companion, she might have been offended at having her dedication called into question. Yet not only had she condemned herself to the dank innards of the White Tower for possibly as long as she would live, but she had done so willingly, and by her own devious orchestration … she who had once argued so fiercely to be free of all constraint and to go in search of adventure wherever she chose. The irony of it all diverted her for a fleeting moment. Now the only escapades she involved herself in were conducted at a distance with herself the player directing pawns about her work. Ink stains had replaced war wounds. She contemplated the densely written pages before her, smudged by hurry and detailing matters which no doubt urgently needed her attention, and for a moment this was all so surreal that it cut at her bright edged: she, once the half illiterate bastard from Andor, knowing nothing save how to survive … the bitter outcast who had found no comfort in a life she had needed to make her whole … it was she who now sat as Head of the Green Ajah, the highest office in these halls, before whom all others gave way. It seemed dream like in a way and yet she already knew that the taste of ascendancy was sweet and having supped from this cup she could never pass it on. Hence why Sirayn Sedai, once a soldier and perhaps still so in her heart, worked in silence and deep concentration these late hours to master a rising tide of paperwork. Dealing with authority had never been her strong point, much preferring to keep her independence close, and all the constraints which bound about sisters now manifested themselves before her in the form of endless requests. Asking permission to leave the city had never seemed so unnecessary as when she had to read over every such instance and grant or deny it. Those new tasks were only the beginning. A sister wanted a meeting to discuss the progress of her young mentee who was likely to choose the Green Ajah in her turn; Sirayn noted in passing that the woman was a modernist, briefly considered how awkward that audience might be, and granted it with a brief flourish of her pen. Somebody else wanted her to consent to their bonding with a young Tower Guard and to perhaps grace the occasion with her presence. Such support was not strictly necessary, but it was considered a small piece of tact, and perhaps all the more so to an Ajah Head so new. A sister’s bonding might prove a simple enough task to begin her public duties; a little favour spread good will and if all went well it might not even be tiresome. And all the time a stack of huge tomes brooded in one corner. Compiled there were the thousand and one rules of protocol which a Captain General needed to know, particularly one for whom foes waited at every opportunity, and she could not afford the smallest mistake. Time wound on and she fell into a mechanical routine like some work of brass and sinew to lift and scan and respond; by her side cryptic coded notes spidered further across an otherwise fresh and blank page. Briefly she entertained the thought of recruiting some servant to manage her appointments and so forth but the idea filled her with such an immediate horror that she discarded it immediately. It would be a bleak day when she admitted this or anything else was beyond her. Even as the first and palest rays of dawn stole softly through the leaded glass window, to paint her papers and the small movement of her hand writing in shades of grey and subtle rose, she finally roused herself enough to lay aside her papers. The light outside her window held a pale wintry tint. This morning they held one of their most fundamental ceremonies: the petition of a newly raised Aes Sedai and her subsequent entry, if as a recruit, having had her request denied. Raisings. The procedure held a great deal of significance for her. Much of her career had been sparked on that shameful morning she was deemed unworthy to join the Battle Ajah … so much bitterness, so much resentment, a lifetime’s exile all begun on a morning much like this so many years ago; for the longest time she had wanted to abolish the whole pretence immediately she took this office, never doubting in the dark dreams of her youth that some day she would, but matters were more complicated now. It would take some phenomenal support to overturn a tradition of some thousand years’ standing … perhaps more than she had, certainly more than she was willing to risk … and in truth? She wasn’t certain any longer that that would be the best way. She had only to look at her own case to see how successful the initiation period had been if one measured in colder and more objective ways than she had. Troubled as she was by all this philosophy no amount of contemplation would resolve the task before her. Christine Segreto was to be raised to the shawl this morning and if they had guessed rightly she would be coming to join them amid the Green Ajah. A raising was always a source of celebration and in particular this young woman Sirayn had herself guided in some small part; difficult though it was to imagine why Christine had attached herself to her so, presumably she had proved to be useful in some way. This morning if all went to plan the child would come to see her in an entirely new light … as Head of the Green Ajah. Always assuming she played her part correctly of course. Intellectually she knew that she couldn’t mess up such a simple procedure if she tried; but her heart told her otherwise. Nevertheless, an hour later found her smartly dressed and at her most imposing in the Captain General’s Office. A stately desk occupied the centre of this luxurious room with half a hundred paintings of previous incumbents hung up round the walls; once the title passed along from her, by means of resignation or something more sinister, her portrait too would occupy a place there. Heavy leather bound books lined one wall while a display cabinet cased mementoes and artefacts of long gone campaigns. Directly behind the desk positioned so that it lay across the wall like a silent threat was the colossal greatsword borne by her predecessors into battle and now by rights belonging to her. The blade was near as tall as she was and not likely to become her constant companion unless she worked out some way to bear it without looking a fool; yet it lent a certain authority to her presence here. Perfectly calm, she seated herself being the polished dark desk and simply waited; her hard face set in lines of stone, a simple green shawl draped about her shoulders; ice grey eyes rested upon the door waiting for the party to enter. On the wall above her head waited that great grey sword which marked her rank and for all the bleak and winding path which had brought her here, and all the dark times which still lay ahead, she looked every inch Head of the Green Ajah in that moment. ooc: Speak friend and enter. _________________ Sirayn Símeone-Damodred Head of the Green Ajah - 999 NE White Tower RP Co-ordinator Last edited by Sirayn on Sun Feb 12, 2006 6:01 pm; edited 1 time in total Christine Sedai DM Member Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 242 Location: the BEACH! Posted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 10:22 pm Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Walking through the halls, Christine heard voices. It was those of the Green sisters with her... but she was not paying attention. All she had on her mind was what faced her. She still had not been given her shawl, and had not been accepted as a sister... and this worried her. She had let the Battle Sisters know that she was going to be a Green Sister, so she did not know what the problem was. Perhaps it was something wrong with her. Perhaps another test. Or even worse- perhaps she would not be accepted in. She had never heard of an Ajah not accepting an Initiate, but she was sure it could happen. It was hallowed halls she walked through, that night. The halls of the Battle Ajah, the halls of the Green Ajah. She had been there before, whether for a study with Sirayn Sedai, running messages, a bit of research, or just looking around when she got a chance. She loved the beauty, the majesty, the presence that it gave off. Swords adorned the doorways, and the closed doors were leading her in deeper- deeper than she had ever been. Looking at the Sisters, she realized something that she felt idiotic for not noticing before. They were the sitters. Who could be higher than the Sitters? Oh no... she was going to meet the Head of the Green Ajah. Her eyes opened wide at the realization, but the sisters kept walking. This was horrid- being put before trial by a sister she didn’t know. She was bound to fail whatever test was put before her! Jaydena Sedai led her to a door, and stopped, the other two sitters standing behind Christine. Looking at them, she recieved a nod, and she knocked on the door. “Enter!†said a cold voice- a voice that she recognized from somewhere. She turned the handle, and looked at the Sitters, a small smile on each face. Stepping in, she was shocked. The walls were covered in paintings, and the large room held a desk in the center, the Aes Sedai sitting behind it. The door shut behind her, and she was still staring. But it wasn’t the paintings, nor was it the Great Sword over the desk that held her attention. It was the Aes Sedai. Sirayn Sedai- she should have known. After all these years, she had never known that the Aes Sedai she went to for help was the Head of the Ajah. The woman stared at her, and Christine stared back for a moment, before dropping into a curtsy. “Sirayn Sedai...†she whispered, shocked. “Well, girl, what do you want?†she heard. Slowly rising, Christine stepped forward, her eyes straight ahead, staring at her mission. She stood before the desk, and spoke clearly and slowly, afraid her voice would crack. “I come to beg acceptance into the Green Ajah.†ooc: god help us all... Sira has a friend _________________ Christine Segretto~Sister of the Green Ajah~WS2 Deniera l'Spada~Trainee WS4 Carsane Evera, High Seat of House Sadma How much odder can life get? Halvie DM Member Joined: 31 Dec 1969 Posts: 60 Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 7:47 am Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ‘*’ The smile he gave her tore her apart as she felt the rising tide of bitterness carrying her back into the murky past when they had enjoyed the vitality of youth together. Sharp memories of their meet amidst the dark chaos of the Blight; that hellhole of evil spawns & despair. His fight against the dark had inspired her much as he still did now but this, a simple spar against a trainee of all people! It had resulted in a torn muscle which placed his case under a grave, uncaring light; oh Light, what was the use of remaining in the Tower when he continued to injure himself so? Had he no concern for his own safety, let alone of her feelings? It was iniquitous for her to watch her only warder waste away into this pale image of the man he had once been and the cruel jibes he made of his age hurt her more than she revealed. Get another warder, I know of several worthy candidates. It’s improper for a Green to remain bonded to just one, one who will soon be no more… Maechella bit back half a hundred sharp retorts that sprung to her lips, clamping down on her aggravation before it got through the bond. ‘*’ Did he still think himself a man in his prime, to put himself through the harsh regime the yard offered? Him, a fresh victim of the callous creatures of the dark with a lean back ravaged with more marks than the eyes could bear. She had sacrificed a continued existence in the Blight for his sake; arduous though that life had once been, it had satisfied her fully. She had relished the bond shared by her soldier comrades, had worked into turning it into her life mission. Deplete the sturdy ranks of the Dark Lord before the Last Battle; their skirmishes would be minor in relation to the final confrontation but still, she had thrown in her best efforts to keep back the dark minions and that knowledge sufficed in calming her conscience. Now those flashing grey eyes were turned towards scrutinising impassive facades and running through pages of cryptic codes. ‘*’ These were the dark times when her fingers so unused to much writing cramped under pressure, her mind struggling to cope with political intrigue when it had grown comfortable dealing with the inventories of armies. Even now Maechella occasionally found herself groping for the appropriate terms to address a delicate matter or personage, periodically depending on her subconsciousness to back her up when at a lost; hazardous business. A simple flicker of eyes and hands, was that to be treated as an invitation or challenge? Subdued voices over the coarse voices of soldiers; and arguments withheld, with dissentients building up till break point should she be so dull as to miss those slight hints. Critical times and she stood in the middle of all these artful creatures, oddly enough. ‘*’ “Yet another is to be raised to the shawl today,†Maechella noted aloud with a heavy air of resignation. Another occasion for her to be submerged within stiff protocol & duties; she hoped to not end up dealing with yet another former catty Accepted. Unlikely that the occupants of the Tower would ever adopt a frank posture and she would be burned if she hadn’t noted herself changing to merge into her current surroundings; feeling her old self take over. Those endless days filled with lessons on etiquette and silk dresses, a slash for every faux pas that left her weeping for forgiveness. Old days; she was a drastically different person from that spoilt noble heir now. She had learned. ‘*’ “Be kind to her for me, won’t you?†came the weak call from their tousled bed. A stray beam of light caught the wry grin that appeared, painting the jagged lines on her facial planes in a forbidding manner. “It would depend, wouldn’t it?†she called back gently, cold hands slipping around the small brass doorknob. “It would depend on everything.†A faint gust of wind swept into their plain quarters, a chilly breath that made the edges of her green shawl flutter in its wake. “Our lives are hardly our own.†Nor is our fate. ‘*’ Maechella Verlein burned the final vestiges of warm emotions during the trial and subsequent ceremony. Her sharp eyes noted every trace of weakness the Accepted displayed to be stored, compiled and perhaps, abused. She was resigned that would be the way her current life ran and once that determined, set to excelling it with a vengeance born purely of frustration. Would this little one decide to add peace as a major decisive element in her future, or would she choose to act purely on brazen instincts? Death over life, what would she pick; peace or war, excitement or reasoning… was this child even emotionally stable? So many people had lost a piece of themselves when death flashed before their eyes, even the Aes Sedai. Did she have what it took to withstand them all? She observed the flame of eagerness dancing behind their youngest recruit sourly, musing, contemplating, doing nothing. She would do nothing for now; it was up to Christine Sedai to prove herself. Maechella Verlein Sitter of the Battle Ajah Ravaged emotions Sirayn DM Member Joined: 31 Dec 1969 Posts: 250 Location: England Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 1:24 pm Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Silence lingered cool and waiting in the severely arranged room as the four women entered. Here serenely came the Battle Ajah’s finest, the three Banner Captains, her seconds in command; each composed and shrouded in majesty fit to strike fear into the hearts of those who observed them. Two she had raised herself while the third of many years’ standing held on only through the weight of their agreement while all around had expected her to cast the woman down in revenge for opposition. No matter their previous experience and their own connections, each now depended on her favour to hold their ranks, as did all other sisters who claimed the emerald shawl … a brief and surreal moment to think what control she now had over them. As a child even smaller and lesser than their fourth companion she herself had revered the women who had then held these coveted seats: now it was she who called the shots. They were too well schooled to let any trace of feeling colour their manner. As with many new sisters, their companion might have studied for decades and only achieved half that composure. Fair though she was, and seemingly popular among young men, the Domani child had no idea what lay in wait for her … and from her dazed expression perhaps she had just realised that. The other three women having taken up their accustomed places, the quiet drew out further into tension while young Christine Sedai stood before her and simply stared in shocked confusion. One dark brow arched in fractional query prompting for some sort of movement. Not particularly flattering to have it confirmed once more that she was not the type of person people immediately took for powerful; but she had expected little more and life was not all roses. A curtsey went some way to mend her irritation on this point. In response to her sharp query Christine lifted her voice, as sweet to hear as the rest of her to look upon, and set in motion the next stage of the machinery that was this process. A small part of her remained every bit as frozen as anyone first coming before their Ajah Head … the whole situation still seemed so foreign to her, that anybody should seek acceptance from her, that she should now sit in judgement who once knelt herself. Yes: success was sweet indeed. “An honourable goal, Christine Sedai.†Only a skilled listener might pick out a subtle note of irony in her tone. “But we do not accept everybody who asks into the Green Ajah. Not everyone is suited for it; not everyone feels the call as we do. Tell us why you come to us for acceptance. Tell us why you want to join the Ajah of Sacrifice … and what you can do for our cause.†_________________ Sirayn Símeone-Damodred Head of the Green Ajah - 999 NE White Tower RP Co-ordinator Christine Sedai DM Member Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 242 Location: the BEACH! Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 3:59 pm Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Christine stared back down at the floor as she felt the three women behind her. Sirayn's glaring watch over her seemed to bare right into her soul as she faced her own revelation. She was going to die. Sirayn Sedai would never allow her acceptance. Perhaps it had been foolhardy of her to even believe she could recieve the honor, or perhaps she had just had so much hope that there would be a scrap of mercy that would grant her what she so much craved. “An honourable goal, Christine Sedai.†The sound of Sedai sounded so perfect with her name, but she didnt want just that. It was almost a slap in the face, to hear the Captain General use that name. It was like dangling the string before the cat... so close, yet she was not able to reach it unless she pleased the master. Her heart ached to reach her string, to recieve the shawl, and to be a Battle Sister. “But we do not accept everybody who asks into the Green Ajah. Not everyone is suited for it; not everyone feels the call as we do. Tell us why you come to us for acceptance. Tell us why you want to join the Ajah of Sacrifice … and what you can do for our cause.†She knew it- she wouldnt be allowed in. This was just a pity talk, to make her feel like she had some chance, when truely she had none. Well, if she was going to fail, she might as well try her best before she hung her chin to her chest for the rest of her days. Looking clearly at the Aes Sedai before her, and feeling the power of the ones behind her, she began to speak softly. "Sirayn Sedai, my parents were darkfriends. Before I found this out, aye, I disliked all Shadow dwellers, but now, it is a hate with a passion. Whatever I can do to destroy the shadowspawn that torment my family, i will do." Glancing behind her, she looked at the three sets of eyes that held on to hers. Turning back to Sirayn Sedai, she felt as if she could fall to her knees, begging. "Please, I just want to make the world better. I want to destroy all shadowspawn. I want to fight, with my sisters, against the evil of this land. I want to help in the cause. And I want to do it as a Battle Sister. Whatever the cost, I will pay it to further the cause- even, no, expeccially, if it requires my life." Her eyes pleaded for her as she slowly moved her eyes from the Captain General's to the floor. "All I ask is that you grant me my wish, and I shall be eternally greatful, and will repay the debt I shall owe to you. Please." _________________ Christine Segretto~Sister of the Green Ajah~WS2 Deniera l'Spada~Trainee WS4 Carsane Evera, High Seat of House Sadma How much odder can life get? Sirayn DM Member Joined: 31 Dec 1969 Posts: 250 Location: England Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 2:19 pm Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Darkfriend parents: her surviving hand tightened just a little on the desk before her, fingertips sliding a fraction over smoothly polished wood like satin, briefest sensation to distract her. Her composure she did not permit to waver even for a moment but that instant’s pause gave Sirayn time to assess their pretty young supplicant. The innocence still so evident in the soft features did not speak of malice to her own keen examination, much less Darkfriend knowledge, and she prided herself on her judgement … but all too bitterly Sirayn remembered how she had been fooled on past occasions; on how eyes seemingly just as trusting and artless as these deep brown ones had harboured a life’s worth of hatred. On their first meeting she had measured Christine Segreto and found her no threat. Yet for long hard moments now that her parentage had been revealed Sirayn considered that decision again. Surely any Darkfriend such a fool as to admit to a similar heritage in front of three Sitters and an Ajah Head whom they needed to accept them would never have survived this long. That took a particular kind of idiocy … unless it was a double bluff. Could such dark confidence be present behind an image of otherwise superficial beauty? By this time they ought to know that she was doubly on her guard for just such a scheme and Christine was not, unless she missed her guess entirely, subtle enough or skilled enough to take her on in that manner. No indication of anything warning in the manner. Nothing suppressed behind the brown eyes. Nothing save her own suspicion heightened a sense of danger in this magnificent room. If this child was a Darkfriend, she was an extraordinarily brash one, and such boldness could easily be converted into mistakes. Easing tensed shoulders a fraction Sirayn dismissed her worries … for now at least. Pleading to be permitted to join the Green Ajah seemed heartfelt enough. A note of desperation, a note of eagerness; it might have been stirring had Sirayn not been a callous cynic at heart. In small ways it made her uncomfortable to be listening to such a passionate declaration of loyalty toward them. All her sisters had reasons to be here on the front line against the Shadow, to go through mud and blood and weariness until the glamour had long worn away and to stay there anyway, to survive disaster along with triumph, and still to be there when the sun rose the next dawn picking through the bones of another battle. It did not serve well to inquire too closely into what women like her kept secret. Yet on this, the first of many such mornings, it was her task to judge them and find them wanting. Intensely it troubled her to do this who had always held so strongly that an Aes Sedai’s business was one’s own. To interfere here went against all the traditions which she kept closest. Most bitterly it stung her own long held memories of similar failures; bringing back too close and sharp recall that she had nearly become the only sister to be turned down at her second petition as well … telling her again that she had lost all faith in herself that morning and that something had been lost which even hundreds of years later had never been regained. Her own history had passed into legend along with that of many of her contemporaries but she herself still remembered despair. It took a certain kind of woman to do this job: a hard one certainly, a cruel one perhaps; someone capable of detachment from all common rules of courtesy and custom; the type of iron leader the Green Ajah had forged her into. Maybe this was why she sat beneath the Captain General’s greatsword this morning. Not so much because she had possessed the political will to make it so; that was only the final demonstration … but because she had herself gone through all the damage this could wreak on a woman, had seen its bitterest ending, and was callous enough to continue anyway. Perhaps she who had so nearly been brought down by this tradition knew best that the morning’s events would certainly damage Christine, might ruin her even, and Sirayn Damodred was pitiless enough to continue anyway. And if she meant to do so, she might as well do so in style. “Fair words, Christine Sedai.†Silky smooth as honey, a note no doubt the child had never heard from her before. “Unfortunate for you … a thousand such have been heard in this room and yours are, I fear, nothing special. If only gratitude guaranteed one a place among the Battle Ajah we should soon be brimming with new recruits. Being rather more particular about who we admit, however, your plea is not sufficient to gain acceptance here.†A twist of sheer steel there as an instant’s chill displayed the commanding strength of a voice usually kept restrained. “You stand before us now as a child. Never tested, never proven, you have no more to offer us than dreams. This morning you are refused entrance to the Green Ajah for now and for all time unless you should offer us any reason to keep you.†Sheer cruelty now, this was enough to destroy most people and that knowledge lay on her like a weight; nevertheless not an instant’s pity did she permit herself nor could she allow such simple sentiment to stay her hand. Her deeds here served to silence any criticism that might rise, not that folk were likely to speak of her as too soft, knowing her reputation … and knowing that this served her own selfish purposes might have stung her if she had let herself care just now. Her words continued as iron, her bearing straight, every inch in command. “You are bound to us now and the Green Ajah does not give up so easily. You may not leave here a free woman; nor will you ever be free of us if we have our way. Over the next months you will be given a place among the lowest of our rank. If you learn well and willingly enough, if you demonstrate the qualities we require from our sisters, perhaps you will be permitted to petition again for acceptance. “This chance is one you have earned by passing the Aes Sedai test. Few will be permitted as you will be to learn from a Banner Captain of many years’ standing; you are being given an opportunity many would swear their lives into servitude for. If there is anything in you which wants the shawl … if there is anything in you which deserves the shawl … let it follow the example set to you by your initiation leader. She has been tasked with preparing you for your second petition, at which, let me warn you now, you will have to pass my scrutiny as you failed it this morning. Jaydena Sedai is your only chance now. If you have any sense you will be as her shadow: discreet, hard working, and obedient in every way. Should you trouble her you will answer to me.†Narrow grey eyes fixed the new recruit in a cold stare. Many had wept hearing this speech; many had raged and sworn; still others had, on some memorable occasions, gone straight for the speaker’s throat. She did not intend to be permissive of any such behaviour on this occasion. Now more than ever she had to appear entirely in control. A careless gesture sent away the young woman before her; grey eyes like flint never wavering in their gaze. “Jaydena Sedai, you may begin this initiation. Recruit … you are dismissed.†_________________ Sirayn Símeone-Damodred Head of the Green Ajah - 999 NE White Tower RP Co-ordinator Christine Sedai DM Member Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 242 Location: the BEACH! Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 6:46 pm Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You could have heard a pin drop in that room. No one moved. In fact, other than Sirayn Sedai, no one even dared breath. Christine’s eyes did all the pleading for her, and finally, her Judge, Jury, and Executer spoke. “Fair words, Christine Sedai.†A smile went across Christine’s face. She had done it. Surely she would be accepted. “Unfortunate for you-“ Christine’s heart stopped. Her whole naked, wet body froze, and she shivered, hearing those words. No, after all this time, she could not be denide. After everyone she had hurt, and after all these miles, and all these years, she was just going to be turned down. â€-a thousand such have been heard in this room and yours are, I fear, nothing special. If only gratitude guaranteed one a place among the Battle Ajah we should soon be brimming with new recruits. Being rather more particular about who we admit, however, your plea is not sufficient to gain acceptance here.†A single tear formed at the corner of her eye. She had failed. After everything, she had failed. “You stand before us now as a child. Never tested, never proven, you have no more to offer us than dreams. This morning you are refused entrance to the Green Ajah for now and for all time unless you should offer us any reason to keep you.†She felt her soul leave her body. After being abandoned in the world, she had held one hope, that perhaps she could be an aes sedai. After discovering what the Green Ajah stood for, it was as though her destiny had been set before her. She knew she belonged with them. Every word just seemed to flow right over her. Nothing else really seemed to matter. “You are bound to us now and the Green Ajah does not give up so easily. You may not leave here a free woman; nor will you ever be free of us if we have our way. Over the next months you will be given a place among the lowest of our rank. If you learn well and willingly enough, if you demonstrate the qualities we require from our sisters, perhaps you will be permitted to petition again for acceptance.†Petition? Again? And what, be turned down again? She couldnt dealwith that. She was considerd a sister to others, yet truly, she was just a fraud. Could she do that? No. And she wouldnt. Her life was over. Words flowed over her. She heard something of recruit, then something about Jaydena and Initiation. Her eyes were fixed on Sirayn’s in horror, and she started freaking out. Her heart raced, and she started breathing harder. Hear she stood, naked and alone, and she was denied the one thing she had always wanted. “Jaydena Sedai, you may begin this initiation. Recruit … you are dismissed.†Recruit her ass... Looking around, Christine didn’t see her clothes, and she wished more than ever right then that she had her sword. She would put the blasted thing to good use. Spotting a knife on Sirayn Sedai’s desk, she walked forward and took it off. Holding it, with the four looking on, wondering who was the girl’s victim, Christine just shook her head, and plunged it into her heart. Slumping onto the floor, she bled out as the world spun around her. Just lying there, she closed her eyes, knowing that she had just been a waste of life and a waste of power. _________________ Christine Segretto~Sister of the Green Ajah~WS2 Deniera l'Spada~Trainee WS4 Carsane Evera, High Seat of House Sadma How much odder can life get? Sirayn DM Member Joined: 31 Dec 1969 Posts: 250 Location: England Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 11:58 am Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Fascinating indeed to watch the effects of her little speech upon her quarry: the widening of her eyes, the rapid pace of her breath, all the small signs of panic … most satisfying to know that her discourse had hit home as intensely as she meant it to. Impressing her own will upon new sisters often too caught up in their own triumph to realise that some measure of deference was still expected of them was often a challenging task but this appeared to have accomplished its goal without difficulty; though her expression remained sternly composed inwardly Sirayn counted this an unqualified success. However, basking in her own approval lasted for all of a minute. Quick as a striking snake the child snatched a dagger from her desk. An instant only she remained still: despite all the stories truly she had never thought for a moment that there was a real danger to her with so many sisters about; incredulous that anyone should dare raise a hand against her in her own office; certain that her own eyes had misled her. Stillness lasted the brief space it took her to recall how easily a fragile system could be damaged by a well aimed knife. That she should even have to imagine that in this place outraged her. Cold fury drenched her like freezing water. Saidar slammed into her, a sister’s best defence, and Sirayn rose to her feet summoning all her wrath about her to stop the child dead in her tracks should she even attempt to use the blade. Her fury did not reach its intended target. Stunned, she watched unbelieving as Christine plunged the blade into her own heart. Blood spilled forth in a gush so richly red it looked surreal and, hands falling loosely away from the scarlet slicked hilt, the child slumped to the ground. Crimson liquid leaked over the smooth polished floor, sank into an elegant carpet, pooled before her desk. Bizarre though this whole situation was, the first thought that occurred to her through a haze of incredulity was that she had been passing fond of that carpet. Children these days were so inconsiderate about where they chose to bleed. “For the love of the Light!†Frustration rang hard as iron in her voice. Had her speech truly been so good it drove young women to kill themselves? How did it reflect on her that somebody had attempted to take their own life during her first raising? Questions chattered away and she dismissed them ruthlessly back into the darkness from whence she had come. “Somebody heal the idiot child.†A careless gesture summoned one of the three Sitters to perform a task; inwardly resenting a fact that none of them needed to point out, that she herself was too feeble in saidar to perform the same task herself. So many parts of her life might have taken a different turn if she had been able to complete that most necessary of weaves … but she had long ago resigned herself to her failings. Grey eyes remained sharp on the smear of red blood and the slowing rise and fall of the Domani child’s breast as breath stilled in her lungs. The healing weave was as quick and efficient as it had ever been. Once the immediate crisis appeared to have been averted Sirayn subsided back into her seat; as near to furious as she permitted herself to be in public. The sheer stupidity of some people both amazed and irritated her. “Are they raising lackwits to the shawl these days? How did dramatic suicide become an Aes Sedai’s first resort under pressure? I trust that your patience is good these days Jaydena Sedai because I can see that mine would not be up to the task of teaching this fool.†_________________ Sirayn Símeone-Damodred Head of the Green Ajah - 999 NE White Tower RP Co-ordinator Apollodoria27 DM Member Joined: 29 Apr 2005 Posts: 108 Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 1:40 am Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- They stepped into the office of their leader and the newest Sister followed them into the dark room. Sirayn Sedai sat behind her desk, powerful yet small in stature and scared in more ways than one. Christine made a small shocked sound and her voice came out in a shocked whisper as she spoke the Captain Generals name. Jade smirked and watched the emotions flit across the woman's face. She could well understand that shock, it had been one more blow to her heart when Sirayn had been raised to that Greatsword instead of herself. Sirayn's voice rasped out across the room, “Well, girl, what do you want?†Christine answered in that same quiet and scared sounding voice, “I come to beg acceptance into the Green Ajah.†Jade rolled her eyes at the girl whose eyes were focused on their Ajah Head. Greens did not beg for anything at least not in public in front of their ajah head and sitters. Her mind wandered and she remembered well begging Seia to make her, to love her, and be with her always. She would never beg for anything again, she would never ask for anything from that woman as long as she lived. She refocused in as Sirayn began to respond, “An honourable goal, Christine Sedai. But we do not accept everybody who asks into the Green Ajah. Not everyone is suited for it; not everyone feels the call as we do. Tell us why you come to us for acceptance. Tell us why you want to join the Ajah of Sacrifice … and what you can do for our cause.†Jaydena sighed and knew that the end was coming soon and before long they would have to deal with the anger and drama of yet another woman scorned. Christine began to speak and Jade's mouth almost hit the floor as she heard what the woman had to say. "Sirayn Sedai, my parents were darkfriends. Before I found this out, aye, I disliked all Shadow dwellers, but now, it is a hate with a passion. Whatever I can do to destroy the shadowspawn that torment my family, i will do." Jade couldn't believe that the girl oh yes girl had revealed something like this in front the leaders of her intended ajah. The ajah that was most likely to be peering around it's doors for people lurking in the shadows. Foolish foolish child. "Please, I just want to make the world better. I want to destroy all shadowspawn. I want to fight, with my sisters, against the evil of this land. I want to help in the cause. And I want to do it as a Battle Sister. Whatever the cost, I will pay it to further the cause- even, no, expeccially, if it requires my life. All I ask is that you grant me my wish, and I shall be eternally greatful, and will repay the debt I shall owe to you. Please." Well it was a pretty speech but it would do no good, no matter how pretty the words, every woman in this ajah had gone through the same thing and so would this young one. She folded her hands at her waist and waited for the storm to erupt as Sirayn began to speak. “Fair words, Christine Sedai. Unfortunate for you … a thousand such have been heard in this room and yours are, I fear, nothing special. If only gratitude guaranteed one a place among the Battle Ajah we should soon be brimming with new recruits. Being rather more particular about who we admit, however, your plea is not sufficient to gain acceptance here. You stand before us now as a child. Never tested, never proven, you have no more to offer us than dreams. This morning you are refused entrance to the Green Ajah for now and for all time unless you should offer us any reason to keep you.†Sirayn continued to speak and Jade began to wish she had ended it with something like, "Hey look here your not a Green, get over, and go to your studies." Instead Sirayn was droning on about something and honestly after all these years Jade was a little of sick of the same thing over and over and the pompous acts of each ajah head that had stood in her place. Finally it was over and Sirayn was silent, she waited for the girl to start screaming. Sirayn turned to her and Jade let her eyes rack the woman's face for one moment as she spoke, “Jaydena Sedai, you may begin this initiation. Recruit … you are dismissed.†Jade stepped forward and was about to walk towards the girl when something strange happened. The woman stepped forward, grabbed the knife off Sirayn's desk. The power came into her just as quickly as she felt it echo in Sirayn behind her and the other Sitters. Instead of the woman making them protect their ajah head, the dagger was plunged into her own heart. As the blood squirted and Christine Sedai slumped to the floor Jade said, "You have got to be kidding me, how in the Light did you pass the final test." She saw the weaves of healing from beside her and then the wound sealed and the only sign that remained was the hole in her dress and the blood everywhere. Behind her Sira spoke, “Are they raising lackwits to the shawl these days? How did dramatic suicide become an Aes Sedai’s first resort under pressure? I trust that your patience is
  15. Day 27 Ata lay tossing in her sleep, she could feel the wet hand over her nose keeping her from breathing. Figthing with her hands she hit resistance and a yelp woke her. Shivering she looked at Taidin, she was covered in sweat, and her blanket lay on the floor. Moving her hand to her face she was wet, looking at her hand she instantly knew who the sinner was, her eyes floated to Taidin. "you lonely? me too.." she smiled as she picked up the puppy, geting a new cat wash in the face, she couldnt help giggeling a litle at the dogs joy. Ruffeling his fur she put him down on the floor again, sliping out of the bed she tossed the blanket up from the floor. Ata washed her face and slipped into one of her new dresses, this was ligth purple almost white, with offwhite on the cuffs and hem of the dress. The fabric was coton, she had found some comfort in dresses who reminded her of life before the tower, a reminder that there it was posible to be happy even without saidar. She let the puppy out on the balcony while eating breakfast, the tea was left overs of some leaves she had bougth in the tairhien store Nuit was coowner in, it reminded her of him. Checking the bond she could feel him closer to Tar Valon, in fact he would if he kept up reach the city during this day, futher it ment he had had to ride all nite. On instinct she sent consern through the bond, then shook her head and fuzzed it blocking him out. Raising she cleaned up the plates and made her bed before leting Taidin in, then she sat down with her journal. It felt odd to have so much time, just 4 weeks ago she would have had stacks of reports to go through. Ata looked out the window to the tower bathed in morning sun, then was sudenly startled as the shop keepers boy entered the balcony to come take Taidin on a tour to the grove, the boy and the puppy had become good friends already. Sitting down again she looked at the shelves, most only held difrent artifacts spread out to make them seem filled. When they had stood in her tower rooms they had been filled with books and live herbs, but much of it had in theory been ajah property and she had left it in the rooms. Thoug she had collected some who was her private ones, enough to have one full reol of books. Her eyes traveled to the casket containing her dried herbs and mixes, a few pots of live herbs decorated the windows. Her eyes traveled back to the shelves, covering one and a half wall, with a feeling of need to fill them. She smiled, the conversation with Ellysa had spured her mood, the wheel span as the wheel wanted, and somewhere in it all there was a meaning with everything. Whit the lack of strength she couldnt heal as she could in the past, in fact it was reducing her abilities to heal to minor things about any accepted could learn, she shruged, only 4 weeks past. Then she put the destructive thougths off to the back of her mind, if her main cause couldnt be healing then surely there was something else who could need her focus. If she wherent killed, and it wasnt her time obviously, then she still had a long time to go with saidar prolonging her life beyond the lifetime of a normal human. Her thougths wandered back to the life she had lead in inocense as a child, then to Tan who barely got to grow up before loosing her life, all what she had seen as a healer in the decades past, and then back to the present day. The father of lies had reached into the home she had thougth somewhat safe, and had altered her life, she had lived thoug part of luck and part because help had been there. It was beeing part of that help who had made her reach for the yellows, and her abilities making her able to change events throug what she would learn. There was however more than one way to help, to many issues to be solved on to few hands as their numbers dwindeled. Just as she reached a conclution she heard a knock on the door. Ata raised feeling somewhat eased by the conclution she had reached, she walked over to the door and opened it. Surpriced she looked rigth into the face of the keeper. When she heard she was summoned to retake her oaths she nodded and followed the keeper silently. They walked through the city, and compared to the last time she felt the walk to be even longer which would also be corect. Then they finaly reached the tower, throug some halls and then they came to the stairs. Ata hesitated slightly then followed on, happy that she wasnt going alone, specialy since thoug she knew what had happened last she went down to the lower levels she couldnt even remember it. That fact made it all worse, to not have the experience and memorie to grow from, so many questions but no answers. Then they where outside the door she last entered through as an representat of the yellows. The door went up and she was somewhat relived to see jsut the Amerlyn standing there, and not the full representation of the ajahs, to have 21 one other peoples looking at her with their difrent looks based on how they felt about what had happened to her, the mere thoguth made a shrug go down her spine. She walked through the ter'angreal to the other side facing the Mother. _________________ Today was a strange day, Lanfir reflected as she stood in the hall with the ter'angreal, where all Oaths were taken. Today was an unique day in the history of the White Tower and Lanfir was here to watch it happen, to guide the procedure... and she found that she had no idea how to do this. There was no precedent, no protocol, nothing for this kind of situation. The Hall should be bustling with sisters, three from every Ajah, and Lyanna should be at her side, waiting in a companionable, serene silence for the newest Aes Sedai to be to join them and swear her Oaths. It was nothing like that today. Even though Lanfir had seen (and done) Oaths being sworn without the normal rituals, this was still different. It was a strange and wondrous thing that the White Tower was able to welcome back Ata Dorje and embrace her as their sister again, and today would be the day to do it. Lanfir was genuinely overjoyed when the news came; following so quickly on the sad news of Ata's severance of the White Tower. Lwena Sedai figured out how to Heal Stilling! Even in the Age of Legends this had not been possible. They lived in interesting times indeed... and Ata was about to pluck the fruits from it. The door opened and Ata Dorje entered. She looked younger, for some reason, more girlish - as if the agelessness that was so common in the White Tower had been wiped off her face and had been replaced by sweet youthfulness once more. Lanfir could feel the ability to channel within the other woman - so faint now, but for some reason she was relieved that it was indeed true, that Ata would indeed be one of them again - and her face broke open into a warm and welcoming smile. "Ata, dear, I'm so sorry what has befallen you and I am so glad to hear of your... recovery," she said, taking the Oath Rod in her hands and offered the smooth white rod to the dark-haired woman before her. "I will not ask why you come here, because we all know why you are here. To re-claim your Shawl and to enter the ranks of your fellow sisters once again. So I ask of you, Ata Dorje; bind yourself to the White Tower again. It is time." ______________ "Ata, dear, I'm so sorry what has befallen you and I am so glad to hear of your... recovery," The Amerlyn took the rod in hand, unsertaint about the ceremony all of a suden as it was so difrent from last, then knelt before accepting the rod. "I will not ask why you come here, because we all know why you are here. To re-claim your Shawl and to enter the ranks of your fellow sisters once again. So I ask of you, Ata Dorje; bind yourself to the White Tower again. It is time." Ata took a deep breath, unlike last tiem she knew what waited, how the oaths would press down on her. Then focusing she spoke with a calm voice. "Under the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will speak no word that is not true." she felt the oath setle, it almost felt as the air changed for a bit, pressing against her then let go. She went on steadily. "Under the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will make no weapon for one man to kill another." it felt like the air became even thigther and Ata felt cold inside, drawing her breath knowing it would become thigther, had it really been like this last time as well. "under the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will never use the One Power as a weapon except against shadowspawn, or in the last extreme of defending my life, or that of my warder, or another sister." She quietly draw a deep breath through her nose, it was done, now what would happen the ajahs wherent here but would the ceremony cary on? She waited. ___________ Ata took a deep breath and spoke the Oaths that bound her back to the Tower again, reinstating her status as Aes Sedai with a few simple words. The meaning of those words, however, wasn't so simple. With each Oath, the Rod glowed and engraved the promises in the woman's bones. It hurt, Lanfir knew that all too well. There was a tightness that came with swearing those Oaths; as if your skin was too tight about your body and you felt that one wrong word, one wrong move, would hurt. It didn't, of course. After the initial swearing there was no pain combined with lies. There just weren't any fullblown lies anymore. And you would be Aes Sedai. As Ata Dorje was once more. "It is done. Welcome back to the Tower again, Ata Dorje Aes Sedai," Lanfir smiled. She kissed the former Yellow on both her cheeks and then took a step back. "There is no precedent what happens now," she continued. "Many assume that you will re-join your sisters of the Yellow Ajah once more. I would assume so, too... an Ajah becomes closer than your own family has been to you, once. However, there is nothing keeping you from joining another Ajah if you would choose to do so, and if they would have you." Lanfir straightened her back and re-arranged her seven-striped stole about her shoulders, to re-instate her station. There was no one else watching and no need for decorum... and usually she would ignore formalities, but this was an important ceremony and she felt the need to do it right. " So I will stand before you as the representative of all Ajahs and none, and I will ask you... which Ajah will you petition, Ata Dorje Aes Sedai?" _____________ "It is done. Welcome back to the Tower again, Ata Dorje Aes Sedai," As the mother kissed both her cheeks somewhat it really felt as an return, a chanse for a new start, to have the oaths binding her from the freedom of the past three weeks, after all it was what defined an Aes Sedai. "There is no precedent what happens now," Ata listened, she had been unsure about this and her future, "Many assume that you will re-join your sisters of the Yellow Ajah once more. I would assume so, too... an Ajah becomes closer than your own family has been to you, once. However, there is nothing keeping you from joining another Ajah if you would choose to do so, and if they would have you." Ata couldnt help nodd her head slowly as the Mother talked. " So I will stand before you as the representative of all Ajahs and none, and I will ask you... which Ajah will you petition, Ata Dorje Aes Sedai?" she drew her breath, she had hoped that she would get a chanse like this, yet she had also hoped she by then would know, as she didnt there was but one thing to do, to speak her heart and ask advice. "Mother I thank you for that, and as it is I can not say. The past few weeks has been hard, i am confused, it was hopes my strength would be back when i recovered fully. That has not happened and do not belive it will, as such i am of litle use to the yellow ajah, also my memorie of the past is not as it should, it takes time remembering things, it makes me vary of mixing herbs in case i have forgoten something. " she stopped a litle lost..."I belive whatever reason i was left alive that it is no longer my cause to be healing peoples, i would need to reread on herbs to make sure the knowledge i held was corect, and my healing with saidar is litle more than any avarage accepted can do now." she faltered a litle on admiting that. "Having been a Sitter i know a litle of what moves in the world, more than many other sisters. Our numbers are needed more then ever, maybe its to late, but i want to seek out on the road, to search for those who have the potential to become one of us, and to help civilians, maybe most of all children in the times to come. " she smiled, "what has happened to me has made me remember that there is a life outside, and i too once where a child, i grew up in a loving home, not all childs are that fortunate." she stopped and pondered. "I want to ask your advice Mother on what to do" ______________ Ata's face darkened somewhat. She seemed to be searching for words for a moment, before they spilled over her lips. "Mother I thank you for that, and as it is I can not say. The past few weeks has been hard, i am confused, it was hopes my strength would be back when i recovered fully. That has not happened and do not believe it will, as such i am of little use to the yellow ajah, also my memory of the past is not as it should, it takes time remembering things, it makes me wary of mixing herbs in case i have forgoten something. " She paused for a moment, looking suddenly a bit lost and frightened. Lanfir felt for her. She tried to imagine what hell the former Yellow had gone through in the past few weeks... first thinking that you would never touch saidar again, and then getting it back and being severely handicapped in your abilities still. "I belive whatever reason i was left alive that it is no longer my cause to be healing peoples," Ata continued, "I would need to reread on herbs to make sure the knowledge i held was correct, and my healing with saidar is litle more than any avarage accepted can do now." No rushed battlefield healing and major wounds for you anymore, the thought passed Lanfir's mind, but then she pushed it away as feelings of empathy came in its place. She exchanged a short glance with Lyanna and saw her own emotions reflected in Lyanna's green eyes. Once again she tried to imagine her life without saidar, without her strength in saidar, and found herself utterly failing. The female half of the True Source had been with her for more than two centuries, it defined her. If she were to lose it... the thought was a bit nauseating. Even with Ata's blessing of having it partly restored to her, Lanfir still felt as if it were a great loss. The poor woman. No wonder she was questioning her abilities and usefulness as a Yellow sister. "Having been a Sitter i know a litle of what moves in the world, more than many other sisters. Our numbers are needed more then ever, maybe its too late, but i want to seek out on the road, to search for those who have the potential to become one of us, and to help civilians, maybe most of all children in the times to come. " Ata smiled a little, suddenly a bit more serene and less tormented, "what has happened to me has made me remember that there is a life outside, and i too once where a child, i grew up in a loving home, not all childs are that fortunate." She held still and thought for a moment. "I want to ask your advice Mother, on what to do..." Lanfir was at a loss for a moment. She led the other Aes Sedai and her Keeper to the adjacent room, where they could sit down. It was generally the room where Lanfir and Lyanna waited for the Oaths ceremonies to begin. Lyanna was all business, ordering tea and cookies and opening the heavy draperies to let some daylight into the room, but Lanfir sat down next to Ata and said: "I've always believed that choosing your Ajah is not a matter of logic and advice, but of following your own heart. I can offer you pointers, but the decision is all yours, dear." As the former Yellow nodded, Lanfir continued: "First of all, you want an Ajah where you feel comfortable in. Sisters you know and like outside your ajah could help you in finding where you'd want to be at home. But also, of course, the cause of the Ajah. You want to go out into the world, among the people, to help. This rules out a few ajahs, I guess. White and Brown and Green do not focus upon the people, but on specific things. Reds focus on male channelers, but they spend a lot of time among the people, travelling the lands. Greys and Blues are the one who interact most with the people, Ata... I'm sure you thought of that already. I am also quite sure that in your heart, you have decided already." She smiled at the dark-haired Aes Sedai and felt distinctively motherly. She remembered Marisah sitting with her, telling her that it was her own decision to go to the White Tower - a decision that she had already taken in her heart. Your head is just arguing to follow suit. It wants logic reasons to follow your heart. But I know you, Lannie... you've already made your decision. Do what feels right... She had packed her bags and had left for the White Tower a few days later, leaving Marisah behind and crying her eyes out, but knowing she had done right. "Do what feels right," Lannie told Ata, much like she had been told more than two centuries ago. "When you've made your decision, we'll see to working out the details together." ___________________ She was lead into a side room and they sat down on some chairs, she had not known this room was here, or had she, maybe she had just forgot. She felt the uncomfortability creep back in her as she was reminded of how her memorie could fail her, which again brougth her back to the reason it was so. "I've always believed that choosing your Ajah is not a matter of logic and advice, but of following your own heart. I can offer you pointers, but the decision is all yours, dear." Ata nodded, and listened as the thougths she so many times had thougth herself was openly said to her. "First of all, you want an Ajah where you feel comfortable in. Sisters you know and like outside your ajah could help you in finding where you'd want to be at home. But also, of course, the cause of the Ajah. You want to go out into the world, among the people, to help. This rules out a few ajahs, I guess. White and Brown and Green do not focus upon the people, but on specific things. Reds focus on male channelers, but they spend a lot of time among the people, travelling the lands. Greys and Blues are the one who interact most with the people, Ata... I'm sure you thought of that already. I am also quite sure that in your heart, you have decided already." When the Amerlyn was done Ata knew she was rigth, there where but two who fit, in one she had her best friend since just months after she had entered the tower, the one she soon would hit the road with. "Do what feels right," In the other there was a sister who had caused her toubles in the past, who had been after her warder, a warder she now already had enough problems with. And if she found out what Ata had done, and if she wasnt done with Nuitari, no she couldnt take that risk. Somehow somewhere she would win him back, he had been a part of her life to long for her to loose him, and even if there was several if's in it she couldnt take the risk. Before she had been both older and stronger, still older she by now was most likely the weakest sister in the tower, and she had enough by taking her life day by day, the thougth of having to face the other, strongwilled as she was. "When you've made your decision, we'll see to working out the details together." Ata looked up, "Mother with your premition i would like to petition the Blue Ajah" the words was out, there was a feeling of loss from speaking the words who made the desicsion already taken on leaving her old ajah a reality. But she had been trained to become an Aes Sedai, there where no time for such thougths, she had to do what was rigth, and as the mother had said, to follow her heart. With Lwenas healing she had been given a new chanse of starting over. She rose to follow the mother, upstairs towards the blue quarters, it was with a feeling of nervousness. Ata pondered what would happen if the blue sitters denied her request, the thougth of standing in such a situation where uncomfortable, it would be humiliating at least. ___________ There was only a short silence after Lanfir had spoken. Ata stared at her hands for just few heartbeats and then looked up sharply. "Mother with your permission i would like to petition the Blue Ajah." A slow smile broke through on Lanfir's face. It was not a surprise that Ata chose thusly. She would be suited for the Blues, Lanfir was fairly sure of that. She watched the Aes Sedai's face carefully and then said: "My permission to petition you have, Ata Aes Sedai. I do not think these things are up to me to decide, but for the Sitters and the Head of your Ajah. If you want, I can escort you to the Blue Halls and you can make your petition right away." She paused for a second. "The Sitters of your new Ajah will accept you... or not. It's unprecedented and new, and some sisters don't deal well with changes. However, I think that you have a fair chance." She smiled encouragingly. "So, are you up for it?" "Please," Ata nodded and rose from her chair. If Ata had not been an Aes Sedai and if her rising had not been so gracefully, Lanfir would have called her eager to get on with it. As it was, she just nodded and joined the Aes Sedai who was Ajahless for the time being. "Let us go then," she said. She exchanged a glance with Lyanna who nodded respectfully and stood back, allowing them to go on their way, leaving the Keeper in these quarters. Their footfalls sounded hollow on the tiled floor as they made their way to the stairwell. The halls were bustling with activity, and she saw many a curious glance coming their way: not only from young novices and curious Accepted, but also from full Sisters. They did not see any Yellows or Blues in the Halls and secretly Lanfir was glad for that. She did not want to have to answer any nasty questions before she had the other woman safely petitioned. "Are you sure about this?" Lanfir asked, as they climbed the last one of the endless stairwells to the Halls of the Blue Ajah. They were alone at this moment, nobody was there to overhear their conversation. "If you go through with this, there might not be a way back if things fall through. You are aware of that, of course..." __________________ There where many enough who looked at them wonderingly as they passed through the hallways, but Ata saw none who where yellow or had decleared to be aspirering yellows. Then they where outside the blue quarters and Ata slowly followed the mother upstairs. "Are you sure about this?" They where alone in the last stair before entering the blue comon room, in the past she had only come here to talk to Elyssa. "If you go through with this, there might not be a way back if things fall through. You are aware of that, of course..." Ata nodded, "There is only one way to find out" she tried to put on a smile. The Amerlyn nodded and then turned walking infront into the quarters, Ata didnt know where the sitters lived amongst the rooms, but they passed the door to Elyssas rooms on their way in. Then the Amerlyn stoped infront of a door and knocked, they waited and then heard an "enter", the room door was opened and looking past the Amerlyn she looked at... ooc figured would leave the rest open _______________ OOC: Thank you for this opportunity, ladies. :D IC: Keraselle Morveine leafed through papers that were somewhat organized in piles on her mahogany desk. Since being appointed as a Sitter for the Hall Keraselle had much more work than she had been accustomed to in the last twenty years. Having been forced out of her isolation and pushed towards being a diplomat between Sisters in her own Ajah, Keraselle had found a new determination dwelling somewhere within her. Plunging herself into her work as a Sitter had become MUCH more interesting than wallowing in tomes of the Prophecies of the Dragon. Light, she must have known everything there was to know about the Prophecies. Other than what a Brown might know, she chided with herself. Licking her lips, she realized she was much more parched than she thought. Her dark eyes searched her quarters for some tea or spiced wine, and could find none. Pursing her lips, the elder Aes Sedai stood regally and seemed to glide over to the door. Poking her head out, she pulled a serving maid aside and requested some tea be brought to her quarters. As the woman scurried away, Kera ducked back into her rooms to continue her work. Before she sat back down, she glanced at herself in the only mirror she had in her quarters. Most of the time it was covered with a light piece of material, however, the material must have fallen to the floor earlier. Shaking her head at her long , silky raven hair, large dark eyes and skin that seemed so pale it might have been bathed in moonlight, she balled up a fist and shook it at her reflection. Not that she hated herself, and she knew how to use beauty to get what one wanted, however, it was her beauty that seemed more deadly to her than anything else. It was annoying and disrupting to feel the eyes of men dance across your body as if they could undress you with their eyes. Shivering, the Blue Sitter thanked the Light for frumpy dresses and seamstresses that did not ask questions when one asked for one to be made. Brushing a wrinkle out of her blue-ish gray woolen skirts, Keraselle nodded and went back to her work. Within moments a loud knock came at her door. Expecting it to be a novice or Accepted with her tea, Keraselle bid the visitor to come in. "Enter," Standing and expecting to be handed a tray or a cup of tea, Keraselle was suprised to see the Mother with a young woman crossing her threshold. Keraselle curtsied to the Amyrlin Seat and greeted her. "May the Light favour you and the Creator keep you, Mother." Turning her head to the young woman, Keraselle arched a dark eyebrow and nodded to her. "Good afternoon, and may the Light favour you, as well." Motioning for the more comfortable chairs in her quarters, before the hearth, "Please, come in. Some tea should be on it's way any moment now." Keraselle waited for Lanfir to motion for her to sit before settling down in one of the chairs. "How may I be of service to you today, Mother?" Keraselle Morveine TPC Sitter of the Blue ______________________ Lanfir smiled at the beautiful Blue Sitter - it was her motherly smile, reserved for when she was playing the Amyrlin. It was not something she really practiced in front of a mirror, but it was something that she utilized because she knew it worked. She was not beautiful like Keraselle, but she knew she had charm; and her smile was a large part of that charm. "The Light illuminate you also, Keraselle Aes Sedai," she said warmly. "I am sorry for intruding on you so unexpectedly. I hope we are not catching you at an inconvenient time." "Not at all, Mother," Keraselle said. "What can I do for you both?" Her face was calm, but Lanfir knew that the Blue Sitter had to be curious. Lanfir was not a great friend of the Blue Ajah, after the stunt she had pulled with Nastasia by raising Lyanna to Keeper of the Chronicles in her stead. To enter the Blue Halls meant something important, and Keraselle knew this. And here Lanfir had brought a young woman with the ability to channel to boot - with the potential of an Accepted, perhaps. Would she recognize Ata, changed and young-looking as she might be? Lanfir glanced at Ata and said: "This is your moment, Ata Aes Sedai. There is no precedent for this, and I am not accustomed to Blue Ajah rituals. I am just here to support you." She then shifted her gray-eyed gaze to Keraselle and continued: "If at any moment I am intruding on Ajah business, please let me know and I will withdraw." Now the Sitter *was* confused, Lanfir could tell. She smiled at Ata, and made a small gesture to encourage the ex-Yellow. Here it comes... _______________ Ata watched the blue curtisy to the Mother, "May the Light favour you and the Creator keep you, Mother." then she turned her head and arched an eyebrow before nodding to Ata "Good afternoon, and may the Light favour you, as well." she was motioning for the more comfortable chairs in the quarters, before the hearth, "Please, come in. Some tea should be on it's way any moment now." Ata let her eyes roam the room quickly "How may I be of service to you today, Mother?" "The Light illuminate you also, Keraselle Aes Sedai," Ata held quiet while the formalities was exchanged. "I am sorry for intruding on you so unexpectedly. I hope we are not catching you at an inconvenient time." A flimer of doubt tried to push itself forward, but ata pushed it back again determit, it was to late for doubts now, she would have to stand with her back straigth, or sit she corected herself. "Not at all, Mother," Ata put on a calm Aes Sedai face, "What can I do for you both?" Ata knew whatever went in inside her it was time to draw on all her skills built up as an Aes Sedai to act beeing perfectly in place. "This is your moment, Ata Aes Sedai. There is no precedent for this, and I am not accustomed to Blue Ajah rituals. I am just here to support you." She smiled as the Mother turned her head to the sitter, "If at any moment I am intruding on Ajah business, please let me know and I will withdraw." Ata let her self draw in her breat one last time before speaking, though not to deep as it could be seen as a sign of hesitance, she looked at the blue sitter. "I am here to petition the blue ajah" she had descided it would be easier to speak rigth out, also it would create the most effect in its simplisity. She waited... _________________ As the events played out before her, Keraselle had wished she had been a little more prepared. Lanfir Leah Marithson, the woman that could have been called a traitor by the Blue Ajah, and most likely was called such by a few of her Sisters still, was sitting before her in her own quarters with a very young looking woman with less strength in the One Power than the weakest Aes Sedai in the Blue Quarters. What made her even more curious was that she called the young woman, 'Ata Aes Sedai'. What in the Light was going on here? If Keraselle's memory served her correctly, Ata Sedai was of the Yellow Ajah AND she had been a Sitter in the Hall the same time Keraselle had been. This young woman hardly resembled the fiery Yellow and lacked the agelessness of Aes Sedai. Furthermore, when had this woman been Raised to the Shawl? It was Keraselles duty as a Sitter to be at the ceremony waiting to except the petition of her Ajah if they were chosen. Narrowing her eyes, the Blue Sitter could not help but study Ata's face over and over again. "Mother, forgive me. Is this not the same Ata Sedai that petitioned the Yellow Ajah many many years ago? The same Ata Sedai that served in the Hall as a Yellow Sitter?" Kera's eyes were intense with curiousity and confusion. She wanted answers, and she would have them. "I think, before I do anything, there is a much needed explaination." Crossing her legs and sitting back in her chair, Keraselle clasped her hands on her knee and waited expectantly. Before she summoned the rest of the Sitters it would do well to know what she needed to prepare them for. Keraselle Morveine TPC Blue Sitter _______________ There it came. The questions, the confusion spilling over Keraselle's lips. It all hinged upon this explanation; they had to move carefully here. Lanfir nodded slowly. "Yes, you are completely right. Before you stands Ata Dorje, formerly of the Yellow Ajah. An Aes Sedai severed and Healed. Did you hear the rumours? They are true." She quickly glanced at the young-looking darkhaired Aes Sedai next to her. She did not want to say too much, though. Ata was on her own here; she did not want to give the impression that Ata was her protegée or anything. If Keraselle got that impression, it might just happen that the Blue Ajah would refuse Ata's petition. The political situation of Lanfir being seen in the Blue Halls was dodgy enough as it was already. If only the former Yellow had chosen another Ajah... Gray or Green... anything but Blue. Lanfir silently prayed that her presence would not destroy things, so she quietly added: "I think the tale is not mine to tell, though. All I can say that Ata Dorje is Aes Sedai again as much as she ever was, and that she has just sworn her Oaths again upon the Oath Rod. Ata, if you would, you could tell Keraselle Sedai your remarkable story..." _________________ "Mother, forgive me. Is this not the same Ata Sedai that petitioned the Yellow Ajah many many years ago? The same Ata Sedai that served in the Hall as a Yellow Sitter?" Kera's eyes were intense with curiousity and confusion. "I think, before I do anything, there is a much needed explaination." "Yes, you are completely right. Before you stands Ata Dorje, formerly of the Yellow Ajah. An Aes Sedai severed and Healed. Did you hear the rumours? They are true." Ata felt the mothers eyes on her. "I think the tale is not mine to tell, though. All I can say that Ata Dorje is Aes Sedai again as much as she ever was, and that she has just sworn her Oaths again upon the Oath Rod. Ata, if you would, you could tell Keraselle Sedai your remarkable story..." Ata nodded and tried to quickly sort her mind. "Honestly my memorie of the day is useless, i dont remember much at all and most i know has been told me. I where to go down to interview him with focus on health mathers, i woke up in the bed in the infarmary in the evening confused of why i was there and wanting to sit up cause i needed to go there. Of course i couldnt my body was to weak, also there was nothing to go too. " she looked to the mother, the woman probably knew more than she and Ata didnt even know how much she should be telling. "Lwena and Nynaeve had brougth me to the infarmary, the worst damages to my body was healed, i lay in the infarmary one nite and was then moved up to my quarters. A week past of the happening Lwena was able to heal me, but that is probably yellow mathers, not that i would be able to replicate it, the healing was somewhat successfull, i regained my ability to channel saidar, but not at full strength." she drew her breath, " as Mother said I have retaken my oaths, but with focus on what has happened i am convinced that healing is no longer my cause, the wheel weaves as the wheel wants and i am no longer of abilities to acomplish much in the yellow ajah." she took a pause "there has been much thougth lately and i have setled for a new cause and focus where the abilities i know lack wont mather that much" The words hurt to say but she managed to keep her voice calm and in control, she couldnt show any weakness, not now. ________________ Keraselles kohl coloured eyes searched from the Amyrlin to Ata. There must be something behind all of this..surely... The Blue Sitters stomach tied itself in knots as she thanked the Creator that she had not eaten much that day. Shivers ran up and down her spine. Sitting ridgedly she swore to herself that she would not shake visibly, which took almost all of her concentration. Surely, Lwena Sedai had not Healed Severing! That was impossible! Again, she studied Ata and knew that the woman did not look like herself, even IF she did sound like the woman that had been a Yellow Sitter. Shaking her head, she sat up a little straighter in her chair. The crease between her eyebrows revealed itself as she frowned. Any Aes Sedai would be shaken right out of her skin if she had heard the news that Kera had. As she held onto the food that threatened to crawl into her throat, the Blue tapped her lips a couple of times in thought. This would definately need to be run by Corinne'dei and the others. Keraselle would love to be able to make the decision on her own, it was miraculous that Severing had now been Healed, even if the woman cut off from the True Source was not restored to her full strength. How would Ata's presence benefit the Blue Ajah? The woman could hardly channel at all compared to the rest of the Ajah...Pursing her lips, she asked Ata, "Do you have a Cause prepared? Since your strength in the One Power has diminished, your mind will have to make up for that." As Ata replied, Keraselle grabbed a piece of parchment and began to write notes to the other Sitters and the Head of the Ajah. Dear Sisters and entrusted Sitters, You are summoned to the quarters of Keraselle Sedai. Do not waste any time adhering to this note. It is of utmost importance that you arrive immediately! Keraselle Morveine Nodding, when Ata was done, Keraselle excused herself for a moment and sent the notes to the proper rooms. Returning to her seat, she sat back and crossed her arms over her chest. "Mother, your presence in the Blue Ajah Quarters is somewhat...noticed. Is it adament that you be here when the others arrive?" Keraselle did not want to say much about the reaction her Sisters might have, surely they had already noticed the Amyrlin Seat gliding through the halls. However, it might be important, for Ata's sake, that Lanfir was gone by the time the Sitters and the Head of Ajah arrived. "Mother, " the Blue bowed her head and averted her eyes to the floor in a semblance of a bow. "I mean no disrespect. It just seems that, for Ata's sake, it might be better for you not to be here when the other Blues arrive. What do you think?" Keraselle Morveine TPC Blue Sitter ______________ Lanfir smiled slightly as the Blue Sitter tried to phrase her wish to let her leave. "No hard feelings, daughter," she said empathically. "I escorted Ata to show my support. I would not want to intrude on your customs and I am very aware of how private the Ajahs can be. Especially in a delicate situation like this one," she added. Still, to stress the point that from a idealistic standpoint Keraselle's request would be unseemly, she said: "I will ignore the fact that I am legally a neutral force in the Tower where it comes to Ajahs and I will respect the customs." She turned to Ata and kissed the (hopefully) Blue-to-be on the cheek. "Take care, daughter," she said, looking the dark-haired woman straight into the eyes to make sure that Ata could see how genuine she was in her well-wishes. She then turned back to the Blue Sitter and said: "And you, daughter. Have a good day. Be sure to bring me up to date afterwards about what has passed here." A nod, a faint smile, and then she closed the door of Keraselle's quarters behind her. She left the Blue Halls quickly, but not so quickly as if it looked like she was afraid to be here. She took her time, but kept her eyes on the goal. Out of here, as soon as possible... while inside, she seethed privately that things had to be this way. __________ OOC: For the sake of our own clarity, I think it would be safe to say that Corinne'dei and Keraselle assumed leadership only a few months before this RP. Allow me to allude to my latest plans for the Ajah. :) IC: "I have told you a thousand times, Espara. I do not care how it's done. I want someone in that camp watching those girls. We failed them already by letting them be pulled into the al'Tanin boy's plans. I will not abandon them." Corinne'dei Susten's dark eyes were hard enough to drive nails through marble, her expression fierce as she confronted the much younger Sitter. Incredibly intelligent and a gifted Aes Sedai, in many ways Espara embodied the future of the Blue Ajah. In the months following the Blue Ajah coup, the young sisters had taken up the heavy yoke of leadership that their elders had neglected for too long. Being none too young herself, Corinne'dei was learning that young or old, a spider's web held stronger the more threads she had to spin with. She needed every thread she could get her hands on if she was to repair the rifts that were quickly growing within the Ajah. Espara's role in that web was pivotal, but Corinne'dei would burn before she let the woman think that gave her an inch more authority than was due the youngest Sitter the Ajah had ever seen. "You have one week," she said plainly. If that put Espara's undergarments in a bundle, so be it. The woman barley nodded. Corinne'dei sadly noted that the woman would have to be watched closely. "I expect a list of potential eyes and ears qualified enough to be our contacts on my desk ten days from now. Not a day later. You may--" A gong sounded in the room to announce the arrival of someone at her door. Corinne'dei rose to her feet in one fluid motion with Espara only heartbeats behind her. "Stay here," she said as they entered the anteroom, echoed by a knock at the door. Smoothing her skirts, she opened the door. "I do be apologizing for the interruptions, Corinne'dei Sedai, but Keraselle Sedai do be asking me to give this to you and the Sitters." Peria Lobral's Illianer accent was so thick it could be cut with a knife. Years ago, she had accompanied Corinne'dei to investigate the murder of an Arafellin family, but they had become estranged when Corinne'dei remained in the Borderlands as an advisor and later retired. All Corinne'dei saw in her now was another string to strengthen the web she was determined to weave. Taking the envelope from the younger woman's hands, she turned and motioned for Espara to come forward. Peria handed the Sitter an envelope in turn, her face revealing nothing if she was surprised to find the two women together. "Burn me if she didn't be saying it was important. I'd have been sending an Accepted to deliver these if I didn't be thinking it was Ajah business only. The Mother did be seen with a young girl walking into Keraselle's rooms and then leaving again by herself. I do be thinking something's afoot." "You leave the thinking to us, Peria," Espara said coldly. Corinne'dei looked at her sideways and frowned, none too happy at the woman speaking out of turn. Espara clicked her mouth shut and turned crimson. She had much to learn if she was to lead with Corinne'dei. Thank the Light Keraselle had taken a strong footing among the Sitters. Together they might be able to teach Espara some manners. Peria shifted uncomfortably, though the awkward silence had lasted only a moment. Half of the Ajah would hear of it by the end of the night. There was nothing to be done but move on. "Yes, I think it best if you leave this to us, Peria. Speculation with only the slightest bit of information can be very dangerous in times like these. You can trust that whatever brought the Mother to our quarters will be taken care of in the best interest of the Blue Ajah." The younger sister nodded and then after a moment offered a curtsy before leaving. A curtsy from an Aes Sedai was a small honor, but it meant something more coming from Peria. Perhaps the rift wasn't so large as she feared. Perhaps. For now, though, she had business to attend to. "I will pretend that did not happen, Espara, so long as you see that it does not happen again." That she had spoken out of turn was half the problem. That she had spoken for Corinne'dei while Corinne'dei was more than capable of speaking for herself was unacceptable. "The last I checked, the First Selector stil has working vocal cords. " She turned red again, but if for shame or anger Corinne'dei couldn't tell nor did she care. Closing the door behind her, she motioned for Espara to lead the way to Keraselle's apartments. They were not too far from her own and Elyssa was only moments behind them. Espara had just raised her hand to knock when the door swung open and Keraselle motioned for them to come inside, her brow creased as it always did when there was something on her mind. "There's tea there if you care for some," she said absently and with a slight gesture to a tray with only two cups. Elyssa swept into the room and closed the door behind her as Espara poured herself a cup of tea. In the main room, a young girl of perhaps twenty summers sat with her arms folded neatly in her lap, dark hair framing a shy face and nervous eyes. Corinne'dei could sense the ability to channel in her, but it was so faint that she thought the woman had little chance of reaching the shawl, if not acceptedhood. "I think you will want to sit down." The light of saidar bloomed around Keraselle and cords of Air moved three cushioned seats into a semi-circle in front of the girl. "We may have our work cut out for us today, ladies." As always, Elyssa looked thoughtful and said little, while Espara eyed the girl much as a cat looks at a mouse, and Keraselle stood with her arms neatly at her sides. All three waited for her to take a seat before doing so themselves and she was took the one closest to the girl, to the right of the others. Whatever had Keraselle worked up, she wanted to have all four of these women in plain sight. As the rest took their seats, Espara directly across from her, Corinne'dei broke the silence. "What's this about, Keraselle? I understand that the Mother brought this girl to you. Why?" Corinne'dei Susten First Selector ______________ ooc elyssa is here...;) this would then be just in the period she steped down, just the ic day before this we met and spoke about going to andor ;) so guessing it would be a very fresh step down before she had been properly replaced ic then but expecting to soonish "Do you have a Cause prepared? Since your strength in the One Power has diminished, your mind will have to make up for that." Ata nodded and started replying while watching the other sitter, no the sitter she corected herself in her mind as she continued to speak. "Yes, I intend to travel the roads, to help the peoples who need it, maybe most of all children. And also to seek for those who migth yet be able to learn to stand in our ranks, time is runing fast, and every sister will be needed, maybe its yet time.." she let it go as she got caugth in her own thougths. She barely listened to the conversation that followed where the mother departed. Her mind was caugth on wondering how much time exactly there would be, the reports...well she wouldnt get it as fast in the tower as on the road, not now with her loss of station and ranking. Ata looked up as the door opened, two other blues entered first, she recognised one from the hall. Then moments after Elyssa came in, Ata let a faint smile of recognision cross her lips, but this was not the time or place for friendly greetings. "What's this about, Keraselle? I understand that the Mother brought this girl to you. Why?" Ata pondered for half a moment breaking in, but then setled back in the chair, it would be bether it came from the one asked, one inside the ajah, one of age, not to say the least age that showed. It would be time enuogh to speak soon enough, instead she focused on puting of a calm mask, something that came easily after decades, granted her memorie was slow, but not all was forgoten. Ata listened to the conversation that unfolded itself infront of her. ______________ OOC: I'm here so I guess I can contribute. Sorry for not being around much. IC: Elyssa recieved the note and left her rooms as quickly as she could. She was preparing for a class she was to teach on decorum. As she walked down the hall she could see Corinne'dei Susten's the head of the Blue's walking with Espara at her side. This must be very important for all of them to be called to Keraselle's rooms like this. She walked into the room just after Corinne'dei and Espara and closed the door behind her. She saw Ata sitting there and wondered what was going on. She knew Ata had resworn her oaths today but thought she was returning to the Yellows. Why she was here in the Blue halls Ely had no idea. She stood looking thoughtful but didn't say a word. She wanted to see what was going to happen. After everyone sat Ely gave Ata a slight smile hoping this would ease any tension she felt. "What's this about, Keraselle? I understand that the Mother brought this girl to you. Why?" Just the question Elyssa thought should be mentioned first. If anyone had any doubt in their minds at all if this truly was Ata then she could set them straight as she had spoken with her just yesterday on the subject. No one could forget accusing one of their oldest and dearest friends of being a common thief and then finding out what the truth really was. OOC: Hope that was okay _________________ OOC: I'm so glad you guys are here! *claps in excitement* IC: Keraselle sat and listened attentively as Ata spoke of her potential Causes. Helping children was always a wonderful Cause in Kera's eyes, so she nodded and gave a soft 'hum' to show her affection for such a Cause. Before the former Yellow could finish speaking, Keraselle rose to her feet and headed for the door. Just as she opened it, she found herself practically rushing the First Selector and her fellow Sitters into her quarters. She offered tea and pulled some extra chairs forward so the others could sit around as they discussed the matters at hand. Fixing her eyes on Corinne d'ei, Keraselle breathed in deeply and prepared herself for a long and drawn out explaination. Motioning with her right hand towards Ata, she began. "This, my fellow Sitters, is Ata Dorje, formerly of the Yellow Ajah." She knew that her statement would have an affect on the others, and if one of their jaw's didn't, drop she would eat her shawl. Clearing her throat, she went on. "I will have Ata tell you the details, because I feel it is only right for her to do so, but I will tell you what I know." Pausing, Keraselle reached for a cup of tea and took a well needed sip. "The former Yellow Sitter was severed by a male channeller. Obvioudly, Ata was taken into the custody of the Yellows and the infirmary, however, through a few treatments of Healing and having one of the strongest Healers in the White Tower look after her..." Keraselle stopped to lick her lips. "Lwena Sedai has learned how to Heal Severing, ladies." Butterflies churned in the pit of her stomach as she finished her last statement. Silently, Keraselle promised herself that she would not sick up before everyone left her rooms. "There is more, Sitters. This concerns the Blue Ajah more than you think." Keraselle averted her eyes and studied Ata for a moment, and nodded. "Ata has resworn her Oaths and is again an Aes Sedai. However, Since Miss Dorje can no longer help as much with Healing, since her strength in the One Power has obviously diminished... she is wishing to petition the Blue Ajah." With that, the elder Blue Sitter sat back in her chair and clasped her hands together in her lap to wait out the reactions of the others. "That, is why I found it necessary to summon you here today." Keraselle Morveine TPC Blue Sitter _______________ Ata quietly sipped her tea and observed the others descreatly, she migth look young, and granted it had goten her in enoug troubles when she was at her most confused, but slowly she had managed to distance herself from what happened, enough so anyway that she outward could put up a calm Aes Sedai face. No she thougth, she would not be pushed around like a novice just cause she looked the age of one, she'd readily respect her elder and those stronger than her that deserved it but there where limits, she had earned her place and proven herself worthy of the ring once and again through the decades. She waited till Keraselle ended her speach about what had happened, then let it all sink in a couple moments before speaking. "As its been explained, the yellows know how to heal stilling.." she diverted using Lwenas name and discovering in the same sentance, with the oaths back ingraved in her bones it was a lie she couldnt tell, and it was yellow ajah buisnis, she knew that much and would respect that even with the change of ajah, revealing it would hardly gain her trust in any of the ajahs. "..I do not remember much of what happened, in fact my memorie of it is all blank, i woke up ready to go on down to study the male channeler as if I hadnt been there at all. And to this day i can not remember the that morning 4 weeks ago. " Ata took a sligth pause to sip her tea. "My memorie of the time before, some come easy, other memories comes harder, but comes as far as i am aware of it at least after some thinking. However there is of course no guarantie that there is not more lost, i wouldnt know if there where. All in all this togheter with even after beeing heal not beeing fully restored makes it hard to continue as a healer, how can i be sure that i do in the moment remember every bit of the herb rescepie, and when i at best can do minor healing." she forced herself to keep her voice even and strong as she spoke of her weaknesses. "The wheel weaves as the wheel wants, I been healed but its obvious that my time as a healer is up, instead now with the knowledge of what goes on in the world...peoples will be needed on the road, helping out..catching news, and most of all maybe its yet time to find and train those who can stand amongst our ranks when the day is up." she didnt mention what day, but it was underlaying, and she was sure that Tarmon Gaidon was coming, it was time to prepare, as best one could, when the day came every girl who could channel could be usefull. If they didnt have the knowledge yet to figth in themselves they could help in other areas, or maybe be linked into circles, many enough brooks would in the end make a river. _________________ "This, my fellow Sitters, is Ata Dorje, formerly of the Yellow Ajah." Keraselle's words brushed over Corinne'dei's ears, the unquestionable truth unable to take hold in her mind. As Keraselle gave a brief explanation, it was all the First Selector could to do keep from walking back out of the room. Was Keraselle mad to bring her here when there was another woman there who could identify her? When you added in what Keraselle had so plainly stated as fact, the situation became even more complicated. Needless to say, Corinne'dei was not a happy camper. The seemingly twenty-something girl seated in front of her might very well have passed for Ata some eighty years ago, but the report that detailed the events surrounding Ata Dorje's stilling had only been issued a month or more before. It was impossible that this woman--weak though she was in the Power--could be the same woman who had sat in the Hall for the Yellow. And yet Keraselle had spoken clearly and in no uncertain terms. Either her friend was unfortunately delusional or they were all in the same room as a living miracle. "Lwena Sedai has learned how to Heal Severing, ladies." She clenched her teeth, thought she wasn't sure if it was to keep her jaw from dropping or to keep from screaming in frustration. "There is more, Sitters," Keraselle continued as Corinne'dei fought for composure. "This concerns the Blue Ajah more than you think. Ata has resworn her Oaths and is again an Aes Sedai. However, Since Miss Dorje can no longer help as much with Healing, since her strength in the One Power has obviously diminished... she is wishing to petition the Blue Ajah. That, is why I found it necessary to summon you here today." For a long moment, Corinne'dei regarded the one-time Yellow much as she would regard a pig with wings. To think that the one thing Aes Sedai feared most was suddenly healed, the living proof right in front of her, and yet Corinne'dei still couldn't believe it. It was just too much. With four Aes Sedai eying her with suspicion and perplexion, Ata broke the tense and uncomfortable silence. The woman told her story with little interruption, much as she might talk of a book she had read for all the emotion in her voice. If Ata hadn't resworn the Oaths, Corinne'dei might have thought her making the story up. So many things were unfolding before her very eyes and she could only react with disbelief. "The wheel Weaves as the Wheel wills," Ata said as her story came to a close. "I have been healed but it's obvious that my time as a Healer is up. Instead, now with the knowledge of what goes on in the world, people will be needed on the road, helping out, catching news, and most of all maybe it's yet time to find and train those who can stand amongst our ranks when the day is up." The most influential women in the Blue Ajah looked at the one-time Yellow for a long moment, not quite certain of what to say, how to respond. The room was silent except for the clinking of porcelain cups clinking on porcelain saucers or the occasional sipping of tea. Deciding that it was far too late to walk out of the room and that it was up to her to break the awkward silence, Corinne'dei took a sip of her tea and placed the empty cup and saucer on the heavily carved table next to her. Light! If she had only known what this day would require of her... "Your testimony is a moving one, sister. If you walk away with nothing else today you will walk away with my utmost respect. Before we go any further, though, I think there is another matter of importance that needs addressing first. You might be wondering why an old biddie like me is doing in a room with the three Sitters for the Blue Ajah. Just to make certain we are all on the same page, I am the First Selector of the Blue Ajah." It was Ata's turn to be surprised, but whatever shock she might have felt was well hidden behind an Aes Sedai mask of calm. She merely nodded and said nothing. Corinne'dei cleared her throat and continued with a bit more confidence than before. "To be quite frank, you have experienced the one thing that has kept me up many a night since I first came to the White Tower all those years ago. There is no need to go on about the fact that you are nothing short of a living miracle. You know it, we know it, and soon the entire White Tower will know it." The women to her left nodded in agreement with mixed expressions. "Unfortunately, this does not make your request an easy one. Your head is full of secrets that belong to the Yellow Ajah, whether you can remember them all or not. Being a Sitter for some time means you also had access to deeper, darker secrets than most of the women in your Ajah. The fact that my identity is now added to those secrets only further complicates matters. What you ask has never been asked before, nor is it a request to be taken lightly." She paused and looked over to the three women on her left, unsure of herself for the first time in a long time. "Ladies? Surely you have something to say in all of this?" Corinne'dei Susten First Selector
  16. Lyanna lazily turned around between the cool sheets, watching specks of dust drifting down the rays of light that slanted through the half closed drapes before the windows. This high up in the Tower, you could always hear the wind, no matter what time of year, and so she listened to the flutes and pipes the wind resembled, for a long time. Lannie was still fast asleep beside her, the white-golden locks tumbled and her face innocent and dreamlike, a small smile gracing her lips. The long blonde lashes made her almost look like a child again, but Lyanna knew better. They were old. But life went on for Aes Sedai and stretched. Sometimes she felt stretched too thin. It was very early yet and according to the color of the light that fell across the blankets, the sun had just risen. Lyanna smoothed her long black hair into a braid, donned her slippers and heavy velvet robe and went to the antechambre, where she ordered a quick breakfast and immersed herself in the papers of today. There were several stacks to go through today, one of them the stack of petitioners that invariably came around on this day. The other was a stack of reports from their Eyes and Ears network. They'd have to go over that one this afternoon, if only to see whether they'd survive another day before Tar'mon Gai'don broke loose. In the other chamber she heard Lannie rise. As always the Amyrlin made ready for her round of excercises in the Yards. Most mornings Lyanna accompanied her, but this time, she'd chosen to do paperwork instead, simply because there was too much of it. Lanfir had such strenuous days already, let her enjoy a bit of fresh air and the joy of going through the motions. It was one of the things Lyanna still missed the most - being able to just don her armor, get out her quarterstaff and let the battlehaze seize her. In a way, she almost looked forward to the Last Battle, because then she felt she could be again what she was meant to, a Battle Sister, a General on the field, barking out orders, roughing it at the front and hacking shadowspawn to pieces. I stand ready ... right .. with what? My stamps, pencils and paper? Lyanna shook her head once more, as she had done so often. Lyanna bowed her head and immersed herself in the papers again, waiting for Lanfir to return from her daily excercises. Lyanna
  17. Ooc: 999 NE, post Dumai’s Wells, covering the resignation of our previous Ajah Head & the beginning of the resulting political conflict. Present at this initial meeting should be Tiassale Sedai, Halvie Sedai & (with permission) Alyria al’Vire as Alyria Sedai. : : : : The stars had not yet begun their nightly procession across skies of black velvet & only the subtlest sheen of twilight still remained across halls now marble quiet and empty when the news came. It started first as a whisper on the still air; a sense of stirring excitement; even from the solitary confines of their own quarters a wakeful sister might have heard a scatter of steps upon the flag stones outside, a murmur in hushed tones, as the message spread like wild fire across those grand halls. For those watchful folk who had long sensed currents about them perhaps this was only the confirmation of long held suspicion. For others, at a single stroke all the foundations they depended on were cut away beneath them leaving only an uncertain future. Little did any of them suspect the response which had been plotted for just this circumstance many months in advance & which only now was coming to pass. : : : : Outwardly the dark door was much like others along the same hall but a sister with good contacts might suspect that behind it in those severe quarters lay a great deal more knowledge than its occupant admitted to having. It was from here, as from the centre of a spider’s great web, that plans had been laid; here one might come for information … should one be daring enough to disturb its peace … although for all of those who asked there was a price. Tonight more than ever this dark door held its usual imposing look and few of those who crossed these white corridors, in increasing numbers now, dared to linger there. Still only whispers stirred beneath the serene light of rising stars & the smallest look or word between two sisters in public, on this night fraught with significance, sparked further speculation. : : : : It was a matter of great frustration to Sirayn Sedai once she recognised that the tumult she had been waiting for these past weeks had finally come to pass; that at first despite the pivotal role she planned to play later on all she could do was wait and listen for confirmation. Being held to silence chafed at her. Long in advance she had prepared certain of those properly placed in the chain of intrigue to report to her, in the event of this occurring, and even in this first hour so much could go wrong that she burned for solid information; just a note, that was all she needed, to distort the reality that she had been ready for this long ago & make it look more as if she was as stunned as anyone else; then and only then could she begin to place her pawns about the board where they were most needed. : : : : Finally came scuffling steps, the long awaited knock on her door. Quickly she rose and went to greet her caller; notes passing hands, a swift exchange of words; then closing herself back into her quarters. Now everything could be put into motion that she had imagined all those weeks ago. Summoned to her side were those few friends and supporters whom she trusted to be part of her machinations: just a handful of names but each rich with meaning for her. About her she had gathered the subtlest and most cunning of her generation and the ones below it. It was these folk more than anyone on whom she depended for support. Let them be true this night. Even the smallest hesitation could mean failure … and failure, for those engaged in this task, could have severe consequences. Sirayn Sedai Sister of the Battle Ajah Andular brought her the note, sealed with a green wax so dark it was nearly black. With barely a glance at the parchment he pushed open the door to her study but Tiassale was deeply engrossed in yet another massive tome she’d wheedled out of the Brown Sisters and did not hear him approach. He tucked the letter in his belt and struck flint to steel and lit several candles scattered amidst the books and parchments of her desk. She glanced up then, blinking owlishly. “You’ll ruin your eyes reading in the dark,†he teased and handed her the missive. She studied it for a moment before sliding a nail beneath the wax. Freshly sealed by the smell and written in Sirayn Sedai’s hand. Wistfully she glanced at the book again and sighed. Behind her the fireplace, empty and cold a moment before suddenly flared to life and she tossed the note to the flames and stood. The book could not be left unattended. Carefully she wrapped it in a length of wool, hissing slightly as an edge crumbled a bit. As tenderly as if she were carrying a babe she placed it in the false bottom of her desk drawer and for extra precaution added a rather nasty ward. “You know who sent the note.†It was not a question and he did not answer, only grunted and followed her into the bedchamber where she rummaged amidst her gowns for her shawl. Normally such affectations were beyond her notice, in point of fact she never wore her formal shawl unless….Unless one is summoned before the Captain General. Andular sprawled on the bed, watching as she fussed with the shawl and debated changing, dismissing the idea almost immediately. The shawl would have to do. “You look as if your armoring for a battle, Tia.†His tone was light but his eyes were not. “Perchance I may be, at the least a council of war, so to speak†she leaned across him and kissed him lightly on an unshaven cheek, “I shall be back before dawn I would hope.†“An escort perhaps?†She shook her head, “I believe I can find my way to the end of the hall, love.†Which lay empty save for servants scurrying up and down the corridor, dipping and curtsying as she passed. Sirayn’s apartments were not far but Tiassale walked slowly, giving herself time to marshal her thoughts. And her arguments. When she finally knocked upon Sirayn’s door her face and eyes were expressionless. Tiassale Sedai Battle Sister Bonded to Andular Rojvas Alyria had been walking the tower grounds as of late. Sleeping had become quite an issue for her: her thoughts kept rolling back to where she was. She was uneasy about something but could not put her finger on it. Walking through the garden late at night, often helped her to solve most of her problems. The evening dew was just starting to settle on the flowers as she wandered through them. She found herself stilling her fingers from tapping lightly on her lips: it was a habit she was trying to break, but without much avail. She headed back to her chambers, feeling refreshed from the cool night air. How long had it been since she felt at ease with her surroundings? She felt that slow itch start between her shoulder blades, the one that meant she was restless and needed a small change about herself. When she had been a novice, it was easy enough to get rid of: she could act like a child and get into some sort of trouble. As she arrived at her chambers, forehead furrowed in thought, she realized there was a person standing at her door waiting. She felt the itch suddenly stop as the messenger handed her a piece of parchment and took off down the hall. Alyria slipped the missive quickly into her pocket and entered her room, locking the door behind her. She took off her green silk cloak, laying it gently on the bed. Walking over to her sitting room, she lit a fire and sat in the chair to read. Turning the note over, she saw that it had been freshly sealed in the darkest green imaginable. Alyria smiled, she knew exactly who this was from. Sliding her nail under the wax, she read the missive, first once, and then again. She dropped the note into the flames of the fire as she walked into her room ro change quickly. Dressing in a light lavender gown, accented with small green flowers, Alyria donned her shawl, quickly combed through her hair, and headed down the hallway. She moved quickly, gliding down the hall. She smoothed the furrows of thought out of her forehead as she reached Sirayn Sedai's door. Giving a quick but firm knock, she made her face as blank as she could, looking down into Sira's eyes when she opened the door. She saw Tiassale was already in the room and began to wonder what would unfold from this meeting. Alyria Sedai Battle Sister Ooc: Catch up when you’re up for it Halvie. No pressure. :) Half a hundred candles placed about the room cast a soft and guttering light across her quarters; softening harsh planes, colouring severe shades to warmth, lit through with red and gold. By the time sisters started arriving everything had been pushed back to the walls leaving only an assortment of chairs before the great stone hearth. Many thousands of years past their distant ancestors had gathered in much the same way seated about a clear space where anyone daring enough might prove themselves … as those with some idea of history might recognise. Before the leaded glass window lit by a delicate flow of starlight she presented an image of composure as the fire burned behind her and time inched onward. By the time the candle had burned down a quarter mark the first tap at her door heralded an arrival. Quickest on the scene proved to be her old mentee Tiassale for whom she had such illustrious plans. If she judged correctly, and the coming days would show clear enough whether her assessment of the situation was as sharp as she liked to think it was, it might be that Tiassale could serve them in a far greater capacity. Dismissing all such concerns for a moment Sirayn greeted the other woman warmly and welcomed her in; a brief enough show considering their long and shared history but telling from one so cold. Idly she observed the woman she and her sister had mentored together imagining her as Ajah Head, as their new and fabled leader, guided only by herself. It was a tempting image. Tiassale had wits and the determination to make a success of the job. Backed by the faction she herself intended to assemble, the Far Madding woman would make a formidable Captain General. But those matters would be reserved for later when all had gone successfully tonight. Soon one by one those sisters whom she had made part of her coalition gathered to her summons. Close observation had permitted her to select the most promising from younger generations and bind them to her … should they be willing, of course … should they have judged that her service meant better opportunities for them, more skills to learn, sights to see that outweighed the danger and inconvenience of working with her. The brightest stars among these Sirayn knew as thoroughly as the battered books stacked around her quarters. Tiassale Sedai, already named; the devious Halvie from whom she expected so much; young Alyria al’Vire, so strong willed and so cunning. From these links she intended to forge a great chain. Once everyone had gathered the firelight and shadow drew them close together on this tumultuous night. Rare was the occasion on which she spoke as bluntly as she meant to do tonight and it was an opportunity to make the most of. Brief words passed between them and the youngest sister present, as protocol instructed, warded them away from all listeners. She looked between their composed faces, the Battle Ajah’s best soldiers, soon to be the heart of a new executive if she played her cards right, and the equal determination she read in them solved any fears she might have had. Possibly they staked their careers on this gamble. She herself knew beyond conviction that whoever stood against her would be exiled from the white city; not a hint of dissension would she permit in the new regime she intended to raise. Caution therefore dictated that their opponents would not hesitate to do the same to them … or more likely, just her. And this was a game so new to her that it was frightening; the only one in which she could hold her own crippled and battered as she was. Yet for all this, Sirayn held a fragile certainty that the small council she had assembled would prove true. “Thank you all for attending me this evening.†She kept her tones cool betraying no hint of feeling; at no point could she be seen to be anything less than decided. “Many of you have known for some time that this summons would come. Let me confirm the rumours you may have heard. Taya Gille has announced her resignation as Captain General. The Battle Ajah is leaderless tonight.†Any fear that might have been shown at the news that they were now a lost ship, with no captain to guide them, among the shifting seas of this dark year came and went without comment. For once she kept her grey gaze steady and did not note the most minute changes in those about her; in a troubled hour they all deserved their secrets. “Let no woman here be in doubt. This is a moment we have been preparing toward for some months. Sisters, you are attending a council of war! Make no mistake, though we shall not raise a hand against our sisters for they are not our enemy, we cannot hesitate to seize our chance; for we are the only ones who can guide this Tower through the Last Battle and beyond. “No more will we be a power in waiting, known only in intrigue and conspiracy, where a whisper is all we dare make. In this room we have enough wit, cunning and ambition to take control of this Ajah openly at last. This month we raise an Ajah Head of our choosing from among our number here today and we will see them become great. And when Tarmon Gai’don takes us all by storm, we will be on the front lines, and we will lead the defence of the Tower … and the Light.†Sirayn Símeone-Damodred Sister of the Battle Ajah “Thank you all for attending me this evening. Many of you have known for some time that this summons would come. Let me confirm the rumours you may have heard. Taya Gille has announced her resignation as Captain General. The Battle Ajah is leaderless tonight.†Sirayn said calmly. Alyria felt the breathe catch in her throat. She did not make a sound, her face remain the perfect picture of composure. She felt eyes upon her as Sirayn looked them all over, no doubt looking for any signs of weakness. Alyria tried hard to remain still and unchanged by her news, but knew she would find something to pick up on. 'Leaderless at a time like this? How can she walk away like that?' Alyria turned her attention back to the woman speaking. “Let no woman here be in doubt. This is a moment we have been preparing toward for some months. Sisters, you are attending a council of war! Make no mistake, though we shall not raise a hand against our sisters for they are not our enemy, we cannot hesitate to seize our chance; for we are the only ones who can guide this Tower through the Last Battle and beyond. Alyria felt the conviction of Sira's words deep in her bones. She was right; the Green Ajah was the only one who could lead the tower through whole. They would stand beside the Dragon, in his defense and support, fighting side by side with him when the day came. Alyria watched the others out of the corner of her eyes, seeing the response there. “No more will we be a power in waiting, known only in intrigue and conspiracy, where a whisper is all we dare make. In this room we have enough wit, cunning and ambition to take control of this Ajah openly at last. This month we raise an Ajah Head of our choosing from among our number here today and we will see them become great. And when Tarmon Gai’don takes us all by storm, we will be on the front lines, and we will lead the defence of the Tower … and the Light.†Alyria gave a small nod at the woman, knowing they were on the same page. She sat there for a moment, letting what Sira was proposing sink in. She felt excitement take over her eyes when she realized she was speaking out loud. "You are proposing that between the 4 of us, we take over the Ajah and lead the Tower through the greatest battle of all time. Raise one of us to the Ajah Head position, and us that as our way of taking over the Ajah. It is a great plan and an even better idea." Alyria looked away from the picture that was holding her attention. She looked into Sira's eyes and continued. "You know as well as I do Sira, the Ajah Head has plenty of say in what goes on within the Ajah itself, and is the most respected position, yet they all have eventually bent to the will of the Ajah itself. How do you propose first of all, that one of us is raised to the position, second, how will we use that position without bending to every nuance of the Ajah itself, and third, lead the Tower itself through the Last Battle? It will not be easy with the fighting that the Ajahs are doing with each other." She watched the expression that was on Sira's face, waiting for it to change with Alyria's words. _________________ Alyria Al'Vire Mentee to Tiassale Morobin Mentor to Taei Mirel “Let no woman here be in doubt. This is a moment we have been preparing toward for some months. Sisters, you are attending a council of war! Make no mistake, though we shall not raise a hand against our sisters for they are not our enemy, we cannot hesitate to seize our chance; for we are the only ones who can guide this Tower through the Last Battle and beyond. “No more will we be a power in waiting, known only in intrigue and conspiracy, where a whisper is all we dare make. In this room we have enough wit, cunning and ambition to take control of this Ajah openly at last. This month we raise an Ajah Head of our choosing from among our number here today and we will see them become great. And when Tarmon Gai’don takes us all by storm, we will be on the front lines, and we will lead the defence of the Tower … and the Light.†Sirayn’s words seemed to obliterate the room, casting it in shadow and sending it spinning out of control. This is it, Tia thought to herself, heart pounding. What better time for the Shadow to make its move ~ whilst its hardiest opponent lay in shambles searching for a leader. There were very few women who could handle the reigns of the Battle Ajah and steer it in the direction it needed to go. In fact as she ran them through her head Tiassale could count them off on one hand. Kaylan Sedai and Vairine Sedai had been absent from the Tower for several years each, though she would put it past neither of them to show up at the last second and sweep the spot away from any other contenders. Within the Tower that left Jaydena Sedai, Viviane Sedai (who was completely unacceptable in Tia’s view) and perhaps Tiassale herself, though some events in the distant past had set several Sisters at odds with her, not to mention her opposition to the alliance with the Reds. And…..blinking in surprise Tia’s absent gaze finally settled once more on Sirayn….of course….Sirayn Simeone-Damodred. Alyria spoke into the heavy silence that had decended on the room, "You are proposing that between the 4 of us, we take over the Ajah and lead the Tower through the greatest battle of all time. Raise one of us to the Ajah Head position, and us that as our way of taking over the Ajah. It is a great plan and an even better idea. You know as well as I do Sira, the Ajah Head has plenty of say in what goes on within the Ajah itself, and is the most respected position, yet they all have eventually bent to the will of the Ajah itself. How do you propose first of all, that one of us is raised to the position, second, how will we use that position without bending to every nuance of the Ajah itself, and third, lead the Tower itself through the Last Battle? It will not be easy with the fighting that the Ajahs are doing with each other." Tiassale cast Alyria a warning glance, one of us? Though she had soared through her initiation and classes, achieving full Battle status more quickly and efficiently than most Alyria was too young to considered for the post of Captain General..unless. Was Sirayn searching for a puppet whose strings she could pull as she wished? That might explain her own presence at this meeting. She tipped her head, green eyes considering, “I think perhaps Sirayn had a different plan in mind, Alyria. Not one of us so much as one of our choosing, our…values. But you bring up an excellent point.†She turned to Halvie Sedai beside her, “Why not one of us? In fact why not the one person in this room who might be the final hope for the Battle Ajah, the Light, for humanity itself?†Her gaze swung back to Sirayn, no longer thoughtful but decided and perhaps a bit calculating. “I propose we throw our support behind Sirayn Simeone-Damodred. It is time, Sirayn. Time for you take your rightful place.†Tiassale Morobin Green Sister Bonded to Andular Rojvas OOC: I apologize if Kyle has tweaked Alyria’s timeline so she isn’t “young†in Tia’s view any longer, I checked and she wasn’t listed – I can edit as needed. When perusing that timeline I couldn't come up with another reason why Kay wouldnt be considered, other than absence - again, willing to edit if needed.
  18. ooc: 999 NE, post Dumai's Wells, prior to the resignation of our current Ajah Head ... buzz me if the plans we made over chat are presenting any difficulties; otherwise, take it away! : : : : Late though it was, and the prickle of stars glittering like scattered diamonds in the ink black sky above bore witness that it was indeed late at night, sleep had not yet stolen in to claim her … nor, she suspected, half a dozen similarly intentioned sisters still busy in the dark watches of the night. No, these shadows provided a haven for those who preferred to keep their affairs closed away from watching eyes, and Sirayn counted herself among such; it was after all a gentler excuse for her wakefulness than to mention certain memories which troubled her dreaming moments. These latest days had been filled with such portent that anyone must have seen chaos coming. As for students of that greatest of games, the stirrings among their sisters were as an open book, and she had read enough to know that she needed to bring her plans to completion immediately. Much work still remained to be done before everything should fall out … and the Light send it be as she had guessed; as she had laid her plans so precisely to take into account; for the smallest mistake could mean ruin. : : : : Such were the dark thoughts which troubled her this night. Part of her had waited keenly for these coming moments all her life, ever since she had accepted that because of her lowly origins, her isolation, and the crude approach which had been all she knew until she discovered intrigue … she was not welcome in these hallowed halls; and so closely waited her best chance at recompense that the excitement of it would have trembled through her bones, had she let it. Fear: that was the consequence of how important this whole scheme was to her. Bitterly she knew the face of failure, but this once, surely, if her wit and cunning and the complexities of ambition, anger and determination could stand her in good stead … perhaps she could achieve what she had been waiting for these many years. : : : : In these grim days the success of her scheme was more essential than ever. Though she hated the thought with all the force of her will, she was beginning to suspect that her son had taken a lot more from her than her strong left hand and the remains of her pride … perhaps, just perhaps, she was finished as a soldier. That left hand had drawn steel as surely as it had crafted the colossal chaos which had made her name on the field. Now left only with the weaker, a poor substitute to signify the remnants of her freedom, it was anyone’s guess whether she could recover even a half of those now lost skills. So long and so hard she had placed her whole identity in being a soldier, one gifted part in a gigantic machine, that the idea of being restricted to paper and pen and the myriad difficulties of administration frightened her more than she liked to admit … but where lay the alternative? In being a ruined shadow of herself? Holding on to something which might be denied her forever? : : : : It was no choice at all, but if she could have had that moment back, bloody and horrified in a dark cave far below the earth, she would have done a lot worse to her son than give him a swift end. He had known what he was doing to her much better than she had allowed herself to accept. How he would have laughed. Maybe as a scholar and a boy he might not have understood what it was to be Battle Ajah, a soldier for the White Tower, but he recognised suffering when he saw it … and the thought of his warrior mother confined to a desk all day ordering others to go out and do her dying for her, when she had sworn to herself no others would die as Seiaman had; trapped amid unfeeling paper work, far from the chaos and the keen delight of battle; that would have amused him indeed. : : : : Dismissing this line of thought, somewhat with difficulty, Sirayn set herself to the task she had reserved for this silent night. Hours ago in more business like hours she had written to her young sister to be prepared for her visit, some time after the dying of the light; it was for the benefit of one Halvie Sedai that she lasted through the night hours, always a hard time for her, in order to keep her appointment. It was anyone’s guess how much Halvie had suspected by now. If any of her sisters could have sensed the currents and whispers which lay through their silent halls, she would have put good coin on it being Halvie, that strange, devious young woman with her secret interests in matters nobody like her should have been intrigued by. However, whether Halvie could analyse and apply that information … that was another matter altogether; and a task in which many older sisters would have failed. : : : : It had taken her less than a minute to decide what Halvie would want from this exchange and exactly how far she was prepared to grant that wish. Death. No doubt the child still had her fascination which she had disclosed so unwisely all those years ago. Secrets they all possessed in some number, but Sirayn was most reluctant to divulge anything of what she knew on this topic … nor would she unless she had to. There were other incentives she could offer Halvie, after all. Only a fool would have thought that Halvie would obey her for anything less than good promises, worth as much as coin to women bound by those blasted oaths, but she still reckoned herself canny enough and reserved enough to wring the best out of this deal. That much, of course, remained to be seen. : : : : Silent as a shade in these well known halls Sirayn wound her way onward; her steps whispering across flagstones marked with vivid green symbols. Over the years a sister changed rooms on numerous occasions as more advantageous ones became open. A subtle but none the less present ranking was obvious in where one’s quarters were placed; with those most favoured being placed closest to the Banner Captains, whereas those youngest and least distinguished being far away next to the entrance, while new recruits of course occupied those quarters at the door. So many years since either of them had stayed there. Pulling a white knitted shawl about her casually against the chill Sirayn arrived at the correct door, tapped once, entered hard upon that signal. The quarters before her she spared no more than a single glance; it would not do to demonstrate too much curiosity, although it was not often she visited these rooms. : : : : Drawing all her dignity around her she graced her opposite number with a brief inclination of her head. “Halvie Sedai.†It took her a moment to calculate whether anything further was necessary between them; some semblance of an apology for keeping her up so late would have been due toward an older sister, or somebody of markedly higher rank, but for a younger one … not. There was no reason to be discourteous, but all the same, she had no intention of granting Halvie any more leeway than the other already possessed. She shut the door quietly behind her thus sealing in their words: “I’ve come, as my note informed you, to discuss some matters which may be of importance to us both …†careless, she took a seat, never interrupting her speech; her tones remaining serene as still water, “for the moment, perhaps we will talk about ambition.†: : : : Fraught with many complications that word alone most likely warned the other woman. If it did, let it be so; she might get to see a little of what Halvie had learned over the years since they last spoke in great depth. Discretion. Perception. Judgement. Those were the three instruments of an intriguer’s game, and each one fundamental to success; it remained to be seen if she had instilled an understanding of those same values into Halvie during her initiation. “Ambition.†She gave the word a twist of irony this time. “A dangerous quality, is it not? Or so many would have you think. I, myself … feel that a little bit of ambition goes a long way; but perhaps it may lead one to great height, if one possesses the necessary other qualities to temper it. Tell me sister … if I may be so bold as to ask ... what are your ambitions?†Sirayn Sedai Sister of the Battle Ajah ~’*’~ The moment her eyes caught sight of the crisp slip of paper, she had known the urge to burn it. Steady hands had lifted it up yet held it at roughly an arm’s distance, tilted at various angles in golden light, as though attempting to identify some unknown trap about it. Halvie disliked notes, especially those she had never anticipated. They were bound to be the harbinger of something not exactly suited to her taste or at best merely did not fall within her sphere of influence. She loathed being pushed aside like a little rag doll, deemed negligible, trivial. It wasn’t half so bad these days, but it still happened. Resentment still grew though she had vowed it would not affect her daily attempts to grasp more power, but it was hard. It was a disease, a heady alcohol, addictive. And the past decades did little to dissuade its advancements, which in turn eroded her personality. She already agonized over a multitude of past scenes, careless words that had slipped away together with other matters she had executed; all potentially suicidal. Her slate was no longer clean; a myriad of events had blown up spectacularly before her stunned eyes, but she was young yet in comparison to others. Aes Sedai who still stood above her and it was purely stubbornness to usurp their position that saw her enduring each complicated day in the Tower or volunteering for precarious missions beyond the Shining Walls. But it was not enough. It was never enough. She needed assistance, much as she was loath to admit. ~’*’~ Cursed were the light rays of the day, when her tension & paranoia heightened amongst walking, living people. Always she strove to look into the future, shift through the increasing pile of administrative work hurriedly yet thoroughly enough to be able to absorb its more crucial contents. The merit of gaining an extra branch of eyes & ears contacts from a fellow Aes Sedai did not cut her much slack, far from it. There remained too much to weigh in the information forwarded to her, too much lingering uncertainty. Another painful lesson in relation to misinterpreted material, a shameful recollection she shoved right back into the darkness where it belonged. She had been asinine child, to assume easily that all knowledge handed over would mostly be true, had placed too much confidence in her abilities to secure a solid deal, a loaded arrangement. Light curse her former naivety! ~’*’~ High up in the belfries came the ringing resonance of polished bells, clear even in the dead of night. Once again, Halvie found herself approaching the door of her quarters with a certain measure of reluctance. She ought to leave her room and let the older sister stew in mixed confusion & outrage; it might later prove interesting, even expedient. But no, that was a simple fallacy. She was too intrigued to be able to walk away and had she a shred more courage, would admit to being too fearful to do so. Her hands began twirling a curved blade in the air with almost meditative motions, its cutting edge making silvery slashes against the mostly shadowy room. Fingers pressed firmly against the intricate grooves worked into its handle, as she contemplated her stand in current political matters. Unstable at best. ~’*’~ Anxiety ran high nowadays, whispers & rumours sweeping through the halls in the wake of many a grim event. Now if ever would be the moment to sneak further up the echelons, if only she knew how. Her relatively young age disqualified higher aspirations though it had never hurt to try, until now. Now heads would turn at the slightest oddity, inquisitive hands would meddle in areas they normally would not because… because everyone knew that they were facing the beginnings of a whole new ball game. The fall of Tear had been shattering news, confirmation of the existence of the Dragon Reborn even if the Tower would not openly admit and more ominous, of the advancements of Tarmon Gai’don itself. Time was running out for all of them, and she for one hated it. Her position was not entirely secure; she was still placed too far below for much major power play – the same old worries. ~’*’~ And there was the other Tower that stood when it should never have existed, holding untold numbers of mad channelers. It was a terrifying prospect that such an… institution of sorts could have ever been conceived, let alone carried out. Halvie knew better than attempt to approach its terrain unassisted, alone… though won’t it be a feat, to be able to tie a string around them? Powerful children who would easily succumb to her political manoeuvres, yet the idea of being surrounded by the tainted side of the One Power was enough for her to sick up. She could not send another in her stead, especially when there remained no person whom she trusted to deliver a notable job on her behalf; no, the White Tower folks would be too busy planning her downfall as opposed to assisting her gain leverage within the ivory tower. Her other spies, she felt, did not possess enough discretion and lack of ambition either; spineless whores she’d rescued from poverty’s lethal hand. Those were the folks Halvie aimed at, acting the benefactor & saviour to those poor, uncultivated souls in another guise, tying them strongly enough to her before revealing the Green Serpent ring. The reaction during those revelations… they differed drastically according to personalities. Halvie smiled ruefully at several tender memories; she’d been overeager sometimes. ~’*’~ She burned the remaining missives on her table, clearing cluttering objects to present a neater look. A tidy pile of paper lay in the middle, ink & feather by its side; ready to be used. All the books had been stowed away along the bookshelves that lined the walls; a growing collection though sadly, she had yet to read most of them. There simply wasn’t adequate time when so many other matters demanded her attention. Standing on the hearth, Halvie manually added more logs to increase the blaze, to dispel the gloomy impression the room emitted. There was hardly a need to allow Sirayn to wonder of her inner turmoil, of the kind of environment she lived in day by day when alone. It angered her to consider the older sister intruding upon her private haven simply because she requested it so, but had seen no other way to deter her arrival except by plain refusal. And such an action would most definitely do more than raise several sardonic eyebrows. ~’*’~ The harsh knock upon wood came just as she reached a hand to draw back the curtains, a brief glance at a starlit sky before wrenching green eyes from the heavenly vista. Halvie drew in a sharp breath to sooth her speeding heart before hurrying to the front of the room. The door opened by itself much to her indignation, admitting a woman of a dignified stature; proud, serene, and eternally confident. Many days had passed since their last meet and certainly, it had been nothing like this. She stiffened her spine as Sirayn took initiative to take a seat, eyes barely narrowing an inch. There had been no need to further emphasise her lack of standing! ~’*’~ Always would come the mixed feelings when she was in contact with the opposing Green; she had figured it to be awe in her younger days, mixed with envy, a strong desire to please and gain favour. Now she accepted it to be hatred, animosity so intense it frightened herself to the core. The woman had everything she wanted, a higher position, better contacts, quality work, successful missions… too numerous to list, far too painful to ponder upon. Every time the woman returned in exaltation Halvie had had to choke back on dismay and often, she would find herself stalking the halls with fury written into every line of her pale, drawn face. The odd insomnia would then descend to further distress her, driving her near mad with frustration at times. She wanted so much, knew she deserved that little, but didn’t know how to achieve it. Always just a mile too further, a little above her abilities, a little late in receiving the latest updates. It was always so. And when she did do something right… she would remain too stunned to do anything further. Then, others would come to takeover, placing her glory mantle upon their shoulders while she stirred in regret. Too often was it so, but she vowed that vengeance would soon come for them. ~’*’~ Words slid over her as she intently judged the true intention of one she considered to be a nemesis, noting the familiar sophistication in which Sirayn phrased her sentences in, with such ease. Bitterness. Exactly what had she given away to the sister all those years ago, as a child barely out of her mother’s embrace? The scenes used to be so distinct but it had faded, until only sentences here and there remained and now, that memory had fragmented into words that made no sense when pieced together. A frustrating jigsaw puzzle and Halvie faulted only herself for having lost her journal all those years ago, and wonder as to where it was now, should it still exist. No excuse to have lost it in the first place; Halvie struggled for an equally cryptic retort. It was unnerving to be playing a war of words with so experienced a player. If only Sirayn was an ally instead of an opponent, she of all would ensure a steady ascendancy… but dared she trust a cripple? ~’*’~ “What is your definition of ambition, Sirayn?†she asked coolly, opting to remain standing where her shadow fell half on the seated sister. “What is worth the sacrifice for ambition?†She clasped her hands firmly behind her back, fingers twining slowly around her dress to keep from tearing out skin. Tension had to be released somehow, before she stuffed up. “The lives of people, to destroy or reconstruct or dare we consider, take away?†A sneer crept its way onto her closed facade, twisting her features momentarily. “Is that ambition to you, Sirayn Sedai, o’ beloved warrior of the battlefield? And dare we consider how far has it brought you?†Halvie allowed her gaze to fall carelessly upon the missing limb, a suggestive smile on the verge of breaking out. Halvie Sedai Sister of the Green Ajah
  19. Phaedra rubbed her temples, the dark hair framing her face was pushed back by frantic fingers trying to find a way to alleviate the headache. Phaedra knew there was no time left to worry and rose to dress and prepare for the meeting, it would start in an hour and she had personally seen to it that everyone would be present. Everyone had to be present, for none had an excuse as she had personally handed out the invitations. The deep gray dress with the silver stars embroidered down the side would set off the right tone for her speech. She brushed her long strands of hair and heard the knock that showed a gray-haired servant even before the woman had knocked. Phaedra had no intention of being surprised and her wards did a good job to help her with that. The woman asked her to sit and read the papers she brought, while she would prepare the hairdo and powders. Phaedra’s hand lifted as she rushed her eyes over the papers and said, “No powders, I never use them and shall not see a need to start tonight,†Farrah sighed but took the brushed and made a high pulled back pony tail, then placed a fine silver laced pattern of thin threads over her hair, tightening it just below the tail. “Fit for a queen,†she said and patted Phaedra on the back who then grabbed her hand and squeezed it softly. “stay here for a moment Farrah,†the woman nodded and placed a hand on Phaedra’s shoulder. She asked if Phaedra was still experiencing her headaches and at the silent nod started to rub the Gray’s neck with warm firm fingers. Farrah was one of those women who could be trusted with secrets simply because she never found it her business to know more than was needed to be pleasant company to the woman she worked for. Phaedra had found her in Cairhien when she was just in the Court for about a year. The woman had the ability to drive off a headache and calm the Gray when she needed to reason out the equations of life and death in her court room for the next day. “Thank you Farrah,†she said and rose then lifted the Gray Shawl, with help from the servant she placed it gently over her shoulders and looked at herself in the mirror. “A powder would hide the pain that is vividly painted on my face, I have not asked for this to pass now Farrah,†she said, more to herself than to the woman she was addressing. “Do not wait up for me, I shall find my bed when the sun rises I expect,†she told the woman, knowing full well that Farrah would prepare her bed and a cup of tea even if Phaedra lasted till sunrise in the meeting to come. There was a certain relationship between the two women that made Farrah almost like a mother to the woman who could be said to have ice running through her veins. Phaedra glanced over her the other woman’s face and then left the room, already in thought over the words she would utter, yet glad that her headache was relieved slightly. Farrah had not had enough time to actually do away with the pain but it would do for now. “I want to welcome you all to this evening’s meeting,†Phaedra started as everyone settled in their seats. “You are probably curious why I called for this meeting,†her eyes wandered over their faces and finally rested on Nyssa’s. A young Gray whose Raising Phaedra had missed, for she was still working in Cairhien. A Gray who’s eyes seemed locked on her own, a comfortable feeling for her, a frightening for some others. The woman left herself open to Phaedra in doing this and she could find strength in this. It was time to speak up and tell everyone what they were here for. “This afternoon I was informed that a small alliance of Gray Sisters have taken it upon themselves to take our Head Clerk out of the Tower, send her into exile and try to benefit from this themselves.†She then, after leaving everyone a moment to catch their breath, repeated the story that Freja had told her and Finella earlier that day. Then she continued to tell that these Grays would be punished severely and that there was no excuse for what had happened. “This means that a new Ajah Head must stand up and I would like to take up that role.†She looked at each of them and then said, “Grays, I ask that you support me as your Head Clerk, to lead you and our Ajah, to hold the values we carry and find strength in each other.†She looked at each of them, naming them and waiting for them to nod and speak their approval before she could continue. Each would have to speak up and if one spoke up against Phaedra, this would lead to this woman asking to become Head Clerk instead. They would have to settle it by a trial lead by the former Ajah Head, that was the tradition, no woman here would try this however, not under these circumstances. The Sister who lost this trial, if she had no support from her Sisters was asked to step down and would be cut from the Source, banned from the Tower and was lost from the history of her Ajah. Phaedra had prepared her story well before giving it to her fellow Sisters, there was enough drama in the Ajah not to add another one now, during this vital meeting. Phaedra Eskarne New Head of the Gray Ajah The air in the room seemed to quiver with nervous energy. Usually calm and collected Aes Sedai sat together as Novices waiting for their first class. What could it be… The summons had come as a surprise to her, which was a surprise on it’s own. Something was wrong, and she wasn’t at the heart of it, and she hadn’t heard of it either. It was wrong. Nyssa folded her hands in her lap, and waited calmly, occasionally casting a glance at the door that opened every now and then to admit one of her sisters. The faces of her sisters were just a little too calm, and a little too emotionless, betraying the feelings that ran through all of them. Nyssa sighed softly. It was a mystery and she didn’t like it. Dawn entered the room, and Nyssa smiled weakly at her former mentor. She too had been summoned by one of the sitters herself. It was an Ajah-wide thing. All the heads in the room turned in unison when the door opened to reveal one of the sitters. Finella, the most cheerful Aes Sedai Nyssa had ever met. It was hard not to like the woman, and it was even harder not to underestimate her. Nyssa had seen her in action though, and her mind was as sharp as her tongue could be if she wished it. The Sitter nodded to the people in the room, and walked over to the side. So she was not the one to take the word. Nyssa’s eyes focussed on the door again, expecting to see at least a few more faces. Three sisters were missing, and two of the Sitters. And Marce Sedai of course. A sinking feeling settled in Nyssa’s stomach. Finally the door opened to admit Phaedra, one of the other Sitters. Nyssa didn’t know her all that well yet. She had been raised before Phaedra returned, and she hadn’t had the change to converse with the older Gray Sister yet. She knew that many within the Ajah held her in high regard though. And among the Gray Ajah, that meant quite a lot. She looked over at Dawn again, seeking answers in the eyes of the other Aes Sedai. Dawn looked as confused as she felt though. Phaedra stood before them, silently for a moment. So this was to be the one who told them why they had been summoned. It made sense. Nyssa sat still, her eyes on the darkhaired woman. Strange enough, she found her gaze returned by the Sitter. Phaedra kept her eyes on Nyssa as she spoke. There was something hypnotic about her voice. She was a woman who was used to speaking before people. Used to being listened to. So Nyssa listened, trapped by the gaze of the Sitter. The words she spoke shook Nyssa to the core, even though she sat unmoving, apparently unfazed. Marce, gone. The woman who had taken her shawl, and given it back again. An impressive woman, chased away by her own sisters. It was a devious plot. Suddenly Nyssa felt even more aware of the empty seats. A surprise indeed, and one she didn’t like. New leadership was always hard to work under. Eager to do well, to prove themselves. She would have to be very careful the next few months. Phaedra uttered the challenge, and for a moment Nyssa thought that someone would rise, and accept the challenge for leadership. For a moment she wished it. Those of her persuasion thrived on chaos, after all. No one rose. A deep silence fell over the room, and for a moment Nyssa was sure she could hear Finella let go of the breath she had obviously been holding. Phaedra called the names of every sister present. When her name was called, Nyssa nodded, before smiling warmly. Yes, she would support this sitter. She couldn’t afford not to, after all. ~Nyssa Deschain Sister of the Gray and Black Ajah *thumbs up* ;) Lavinya was already seated by the time Phaedra arrived, the nervous energy in the room seeming to swell upon her entrance. She was still somewhat unsure what was going on, being new to the shawl, but knew what was going to transpire in this room would be momentous for the Grey Ajah. “I want to welcome you all to this evening’s meeting. You are probably curious why I called for this meeting.†At least Lavinya wasn't the only one in the dark then. “This afternoon I was informed that a small alliance of Gray Sisters have taken it upon themselves to take our Head Clerk out of the Tower, send her into exile and try to benefit from this themselves.†Shock was Lavinya's first reaction to Phaedra's tale, the intrigue and scandal that had been taking place beneath her very nose was quite disconcerting, to say the least. She had no idea that such a thing would go on in her chosen Ajah, though in reality she shouldn't have been surprised. She had encountered any number of plots and secrets in her time at the tower, enough to daunt any player of the game of houses. “Grays, I ask that you support me as your Head Clerk, to lead you and our Ajah, to hold the values we carry and find strength in each other.†Lavinya chewed her lip thoughtfully. Indeed, they needed a new Head Clerk, and looking around the gathering of sisters, she knew without a doubt that the woman speaking so surely before her was the best person for the role. Lavinya liked Phaedra, from what little she had learnt about her, and from her breif time under her wing, since her raising, only a short time ago. It was for that reason, that she nodded firmly when she was called upon. "Yes, I will support you." She met the woman's gaze with a smile, appreciating it greatly when it was returned. Lavinya knew her vote didn't count for much, not while she was still a 'youngling in a shawl', yet the gesture made her more certain of Phaedra. She would make a fine Ajah Head. Well, as much as Lavinya knew about such things, anyway. _________________ Lavinya Morganen - Aes Sedai of the Gray Ajah, Mentor to Elyna and Kilivia The dagger appeared in her hand, it had been lying on the table in front of her, ready for her to take it. All was prepared as Phaedra had instructed and as each of her Sisters declared their support, Phaedra thought about what would happen next. And about what would happen in the morning, after her night of contemplation when she would receive the key to the Gray Hall and the journal that Ajah Heads before her had kept. The dagger was thin, a silver blade with a black handle that had a silver rose carved on it. It was not used, it hung on the wall of the Gray Hall but Phaedra had asked to take it down. She had not always felt ready to take on this job and would admit her doubt and show that she took this task very serious. In the scrolls it read that each Ajah Head chose what she wanted to do for the ritual that came with her job. One Sister before her, many years before had done something quite similar to what Phaedra planned to do. She had taken the title and made it her own, it said in the scrolls and now it was Phaedra’s turn to do just that. She took the dagger and placed it in the palm of her hand, each movement slow and calculated. When she spoke, her words were well chosen and she was ready for what was to come next. “Sisters, I thank you for your confidence and your trust, I promise to be your Ajah Head. But I have to admit there was doubt on my mind, the way our former Head left us was with shame, I feel the need to repent for the shame that was done before I can hold my head up high and stand before you, cleansed and washed clean,†the words were her own trusted to paper the night before this meeting and read over a dozen times, every time thinking about what impact they would have on the Gray Sisters. In an instant, Phaedra realized she had known the impact, just as she had known they would accept her as the new Ajah Head. Phaedra pushed the dagger into the palm of her hand and took a deep breath to deal with the pain, a trickle of blood ran down her index finger and Phaedra looked up at each of the women at the table. “My blood for your blood, my blood for the Ajah, my life for the Ajah,†it was a symbolic trickle of blood, the cut not deep enough to leave a great scar and Phaedra still felt that it would weigh on her. It was more symbolic than she trusted herself to be, she was reason, just and consideration, not emotion and ritual or even dramatic. But the Ajah needed to stand as one and she would have to lead them, not as Phaedra Eskarne, but as Phaedra the Ajah Head of the Grays. She placed a white kerchief in her palm and squeezed it so the bleeding would stop, then placed the dagger gently in front of her, a few drops of blood still on it. The Sisters had not flinched, had not breathed in like she had for they did not have to deal with a cutting pain and they had not shunned their eyes from the play that was played out in front of them. A ritual, a play, a beginning of anew. “My first decree is that I shall be your First Voice,†she said as the cloth in her hand turned softly red. The bleeding stopped and she crumpled the kerchief in her fist, then moved her eyes past each of her Gray Sisters. “First Voice, the person to open the meeting and to open the debate, the person to come to with problems, with ideas and with suspicions, the person to start the trade and to start the negotiations,†she paused her and said, “Your First Voice, Phaedra Eskarne,†it felt good now, no longer foreign or awkward to be here and standing before her Sisters. It was Dawn who finally broke the silence that had fallen over them, she rose from her seat and clasped her hands together, “In Celebration of our new Ajah Head, Phaedra Eskarne, First Voice,†she said and smiled warmly at her Ajah Head. Phaedra accepted the smiled and returned one of her own, then smiled at her Sisters and said, “Let us dine Sisters, for it will be a long night yet for me.†They could all go to their quarters once dinner was over, for Phaedra it would be a long night of silent contemplation, to ponder over how she was to lead the Ajah and what she would plan to do for them. She would have to consider what had happened with Marce, ponder over Freja’s story and find ways to test it, no Aes Sedai could lie but they could bend the truth to fit them properly. Phaedra would be their Ajah Head, but if she was no careful and on top of everything, it could be the snake pit that would have her dead before the next sunrise. Or were those four Sisters all that was dark in this Ajah, all who were power hungry enough to stage a coup over their Ajah Head. She had time enough to ponder over this, now it was time to feast. “I raise my cup for the Gray Ajah,†she said and raised the wine cup up high at the head of the table as the servants started to lay out the platters of food and refill the cups with wine and water. Yes, let the feast begin. Phaedra Eskarne First Voice The ritual had been intimidating. Nyssa had felt the sisters sitting next to her stiffen, probably no more than she herself stiffened. It wasn’t noticeable. The Gray ajah understood composure better than any other Ajah. The Gray Ajah could look death in the eye, and negotiate a longer stay with him. The Gray ajah could stand united in this time of need. Nyssa glanced sideways, watching the expressionless faces of her sisters. Who had stood at the foot of the coup that had been intended… only the three who were sent away? Or were there more? Nyssa silently vowed that she would find out. Perhaps it was something she could use against them. Either way, she could not afford to let things happen that she did not know about. Things were precarious enough for her without that. She rose when Phaedra announced a dinner, inclining her head. “First Voice.†She said, hearing her greeting echoed by the sisters of her Ajah. It was a nice touch. The beginning of a new era indeed. The only sound heard as the Gray ajah followed it’s new leader to the dining hall was the rustling of dresses. No one spoke, for there was nothing to be said. Not yet. Everything was too new, and all that had to be said before this could happen had been said. They had all given their consent, their trust. A nod from each, putting their faith in the woman called Phaedra Eskarne. A judge, more than anything else. Nyssa’s lips curved in a slight smile. It was fitting that the three upstarts had been sent away by the one sister who knew more than anyone what the suitable punishment for a crime was. ~ Nyssa Deschain Gray Sister Finella had seen to the preparation of the dinner herself. Sensitive to all things that involved decorum, she had been unwilling to let the servants handle it without her supervision. By the time the sisters of her Ajah arrived, everything was ready. She inclined her head slightly when Phaedra entered first, thanking the light that all had gone well. “First Voice.†She said, guiding her over to her seat, before sitting at her side. As it should be. She glanced over the small wound on Phaedra’s hand. “I take it the symbolism was appreciated?†she murmured, too low for anyone but Phaedra to hear. ~Finella Dinesh Gray Sitter
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