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Twenty Questions
Tue Dec 12, 2006 5:34pm

As Vin followed behind the Aes Sedai, he did what he could to pop his eyes back in his head. Not that the sister had amazed him with her natural Sea Folk grace, but simply by being Sea Folk. He had seen plenty of their kind before back home, but he certainly hadn't imagined finding one here so far inland. Although claustrophobia had yet to set in on Vin, just the thought of spending six months here, away from the ocean, made something in his chest constrict.

The Aes Sedai looked up at him with a polite expression on her face. "Is this your first time in Tar Valon, Master Sahem?" Her dark eyes reflected what seemed to be genuine interest, which surprised him. Surely there were more important and interesting people she could talk with than little ol' him.

He flashed her a quick grin, a disarming trick he always tried whenever he was nervous, and brushed his mop of dark hair back out of his eyes. "Yes, ma'am, it is. I've never thought of myself as a mudfoot, but this city makes Bandar Eban pale in comparison." Vin forced himself to slow his pace, as her stride was about half of his.

"Ah, so you are Domani." He nodded. "Why don't you wear a moustache like most do in your homeland?"

Unable to help himself, Vin chuckled. At least she's direct, he told himself, unlike Solisa. Light, that woman! "I'm afraid, Aes Sedai, that my facial hair comes in almost completely gray. Between that and this," he said, fingering the silver at his temples, "I could pass for my father rather than a man of my own generation."

The Aes Sedai nodded, making the chain that ran from her nose to ear bob. "I see. I'm quite curious about your land, Master Sahem, from a native's perspective." He frowned slightly, wondering what she was getting at. "Are all the women there so...scandalous? Or is that merely a show that they put on for the benefit of foreigners? Or a tool for their various trades?"

Vin thought he'd been prepared for anything she would ask, but apparently not. Before he could find his tongue, a tickle began deep in his chest. He tried to push the words out around it, which only resulted in a barking cough instead of a regular cough. It racked through his body, making his eyes water as he doubled over momentarily. He felt the eyes of those in the hallway fall on him, but he hardly noticed. After all this time, he was rather used to the staring. All he cared about was breathing. In, out. In, out. Eventually the spasming in his lungs ceased, and he straightened. The sister watched him closely, dark eyes filled with concern.

"I'm quite alright, Aes Sedai," he said, voice rough. He wiped at his eyes with the back of his hand. "It just happens sometimes."

After a moment, she nodded. "As you say. Now, how about my question?" The corner of her mouth quirked slightly, and Vin returned the look.

"Unfortunately, most really live up to the reputation. I'm not sure if they feel they have to, or if it's instinct. Even growing up with three sisters of my own, I don't entirely know. But I can assure you, they hone their will-bending wiles while still hooked on apron strings."

They resumed their walk, and Vin ventured a question of his own. "How'd you ever get used to being so landlocked? I'm not one of those seafaring types, but I surely miss the ocean already." He pursed his lips, then added, "Or do you get used to it?" He frowned, trying to figure out how long not being able to see for miles at a stretch would take to drive him mad.

OOC: Indeed - the pleasure is all mine! :-)

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