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The Great Escape (Att: Any BT Trainee
Sat Dec 23, 2006 9:53pm

Anymore, it was rare that she could sleep for more than a few hours uninterrupted. Though the Tower was quiet, and it seemed that she was the only one awake within the whole of it, that did not stop her constant paranoia. Her life was a sea of panic, an ebb and flow that coursed through her without much reason, save one: She had killed an Aes Sedai of the Black Ajah, and to her befuddlement, it seemed that she had gotten away with it thus far. It was because no benevolent wrath had rained upon her, and she was still wearing her skin in its entirety, she had allowed her imagination to get the best of her. Giselle was quickly becoming a prisoner to her mind’s own fear, and that was growing to be a worse punishment than what even the most sadistic shawl-wearer could have conjured up.

When night fell, it was like a curtain of doom across her vision. Every day she arose feeling tired, irritable, and like she had been made to spend the night among guards, keeping watch for an invisible and soundless enemy. There were no windows in her room at the very pit of the Tower, but she could nearly mark the length of the night now, just by the feel of it. There were times when she could not find comfort in the rough sheets and thin mattress that was her bed, instead she would wonder the hall aimlessly but never without looking both ways up a corridor before proceeding in her midnight walks.

The White Tower, for all its glory and splendor, was just an ordinary building at night. The marble floors were cold and the wooden ones squeaked when her feet scampered over them. As she moved through the innards of the Tower, she dared not to anything that would give away her presence. Doorknobs were to be opened with a sleeved hand, or not at all, and she never touched anything that someone might notice was disturbed such as a vase or a picture. Giselle did the best that she could manage in playing a ghost in the late hours of night, and into the morning before even the most work ambitious of her co-workers began their daily chores.

And though the Tower felt like a prison, and she was a thief surrounded by executioners, she had no where else to go, and little chance of escape. Somehow a word or a deep would betray her, or even her Aes Sedai mentor would tire of teaching her and withdrawal her limited protection. When one of these two events happened, Giselle would be discovered and her fate would not be completely unlike that of the Aes Sedai she had murdered.

~*~


The cold stone floor of the Tower’s lower quarters quickly sucked the warmth from her feet, and turned her toes into ice. She scampered across the expanse of the floor that took her from bathing quarters to living quarters with a towel held tightly around her, careful not to bare her backside to anyone who may be wondering the hallway. The bath had been wonderful, and she sunk into the warm water up to her chin, letting it soak into her bones until her constantly tense muscles relaxed but she did not allow her mind to relax for long.

She had daydreamed about the festival that she had not been allowed to join: the Feast of Lights was just a few hours from beginning. She would be allowed to go to the Feast, yes, but not as a guest. Even as she imagined herself in a beautiful dress, and covered with jewels, she knew in the back of her mind that it was only fantasy, and that she would never be allowed to attend as she wished while under the thumb of the Aes Sedai she served.

Knowing it would do her no good to dwell on things that she couldn’t have (though that never actually stopped her from doing it), Giselle finally pulled herself from the lukewarm waters of the tub, before setting her feet onto that cold floor. The coolness of the early spring air was a stark contrast to the temperature of the water that she had just exited. Goose-pimples broke out across her skin, and by the time she made it to her room, she was nearly freezing again. She quickly closed the door and ensured it was bolted before dropping her towel to the floor and gathering a fresh shift and stockings from the wardrobe. Free from the security of a bath, and back into the reality of her room, she felt the need to be on the look out once again.

Wearing only her skin, she carefully stoked the weak fire, hoping to remove the chill in the room. Not for the first time she wished for the ability to channel, and to warm the air through weaves of the One Power. Her mentor, an Aes Sedai of much power and experience, had described to her the simple pleasures that one could taste simply by embracing the Power, and bending it to your will. Heating a room, and drying one’s hair would have been enough for Giselle that afternoon, though she largely resented the might that Aes Sedai held, and that she did not.

With a shiver, she returned to the bed and began to dress, rubbing her toes to warm them again with the moist towel. Her eyes were nearly closed as she imagined getting dressed and ready for the celebration. The whole of the Tower would be gathered in the Great Hall tonight, and she would be there simply as herself: the little cinder girl. As she dressed, her Tower uniform, white and plain, became a beautiful dress, ornate and rich with embroidery and silk, not plain cotton. In her imagination, she would not be serving girls that were several years her junior their first glasses of wine and punch, but rather, she would be seated comfortably on a cushion and surrounded by her dozens of friends while they watched the maids of the Tower dance to and fro, hectic in their need to fulfill the wishes of the Tower-folk almost before they spoke them.

The first bell of the morning began to toll, and she knew that she would be late to breakfast. She was meant to help set up tables and straighten chairs after breakfast and before the day’s festivities began. However, Giselle had gotten into the habit of shirking her chores, and one more than one occasion, been in trouble for doing just that. For now she ignored the bells and continued getting ready. Once dressed, she settled next to the fire, using the heat to dry her hair as she vigorously rubbed her head into the towel. The dancing embers caught her eye, and she watched the fire until they began to feel dry, and she had to look away for a time. Watching the fire had reminded her of her Lord, and his imprisonment in the Pit of Doom. When she began to drag a comb through her limp locks, the second breakfast bell rang, marking her late for chores.


The rest of the morning and afternoon passed with no events to speak of, and by dinner she was hard at work serving the very people she had begun to loathe. Her duty for the evening seemed to be pouring glasses of spiced wine into chalices that never had to chance to empty or to warm. Most Aes Sedai and trainees were tipsy with the cheer of the festivities, while their Gaidin were only slightly relaxed. Most still looked stone-faced, or like they would break if a lady were to lay a hand on him in a proposal to dance. However there were others at the Tower, men and women dressed from head to toe in black. These people had been there for the Feast of Lights and it seemed they had been given furlong to continue their celebratory activities until the early spring festivals came to a close. At times she heard the names of these men and women with always a title in the front. Aminta Sedai had told her next to nothing about Soldiers and Dedicated and Asha’man. While Giselle began to believe that this “Mehail” character must be a very important man, indeed.

Being surrounded by channelers, hundreds of them, made her skin crawl and her mind conjured up hundreds of scenarios where the women of the Black Ajah appeared with a fist full of Power wielders in tow, ready to tear her limb from limb with their unseen power.

Unfortunately for her, she long held paranoia was not so far off track today.

Evening was falling on Tar Valon when she noticed a group of Aes Sedai moving through the crowd. Here and there they questioned girls, showing them a strip of something in their hands before returning it to a pocket and moving on. She saw them from across the room and knew instantly what they were doing.

As if ice water had been dumped into her veins, Giselle nearly dropped the tray that she was carrying the pitcher on. Instead, she very gently sat it down, and excused herself to the nearest exit. Whether the Aes Sedai had seen her or not, she wasn’t sure, because as she pushed open the door to the Great Hall’s many side entrances, she bumped into a young man, nearly knocking them both other. “I’m so sorry,” he said, looking up at her with innocent green eyes. Nearly instantly, she had a plan.

Taking his arms into both her hands, she leaned close to his face while they were still in the doorway. “You have to help me. So one’s chasing me, if they catch me, they’ll kill me.” The boy’s face went through several changes within a few breaths, most though kept him looking confused and surprised. Before he could say much more, Giselle pulled him outside and into the streets of Tar Valon before pushing him against the Tower wall and kissing him full on the lips.



OOC: This post is a continuation from this strand. A young man, preferably BT trainee, is welcome to join in. Thanks!

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