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The Might of Spite
Thu Dec 28, 2006 6:09pm

OOC: I'm going solo with this one, so no responses, please. *grins* Thanks.

Winter had seized Tar Valon. Flurries of snow had invaded from the north and the west, spiralling in earnest eddies of thick, white lustre. Temperatures had been quick in their falling, plunging the White Tower in a perpetual state of woolen garments and misted breaths. Suffice to say, this was winter as it always was. It only seemed appropriate, then, that a season that could so easily be associated with negative bias should host the most festive, merry-making time of year. As a fell gust of wind sent fluffy chunks of snow swirling past a window, a woman peered at it, silent, before yielding words.

“Another report? On the Feast of Lights, even?”

The setting was, she supposed, cozy. The quarters she occupied–not her own, but those of another–were inviting in their own right. Not warm, but not unbearable, either. There she sat, perched upon the bedspread of a vaguely familiar bed, feet tucked beneath herself in some vain attempt to keep them warm. Myrth turned her attention to the other Aes Sedai, and the one in whose room she currently resided. Adriel was without his sash, but he was no less an Aes Sedai, with his ageless face and everything.

As she spoke those words, Myrth knew she shouldn’t harp on the issue so. It wasn’t fair to chastise Adriel on subject of his Ajah duties; after all, the man certainly was not abandoning her by reason of his own will and preference. It wasn’t fair that the Brown Ajah head seemed entirely comfortable plaguing her lover with sundry assignments at the most convenient of times. As the pair gradually neared their tenth anniversary, Myrth could count the number of festivals she and Adriel had spent together on one hand. Just the one.

“I know,” he said, leaning back in his chair, outstretching his long, stork-like limbs in a simple motion. Myrth shifted where she sat, drawing her weight from one leg to the other. Though he wouldn’t admit it, Adriel really was pretty in his own right. His face was round with pallor, set off sharply by short, unruly locks of black hair. His eyes were almost dog-like in how large and round they were, shining blue even in the absence of lamplight. “It’s almost like your love for the Feast of Lights imprinted in your genes, Myrth–well, I mean, you are Cairhienin. But I’m sorry. Zittra is in Amador, so I’m left to pick up the slack.”

She nodded meekly, though, in her mind, there was nothing so agreeable about her. It was . . . well, she tried not to be frustrated, but preventing that was, in itself, a frustration. There was nothing particularly engaging about clinging to Ciellic the entire evening, making casual banter with the reserved woman over minuscule sips of red wine. She had skipped out on Bel Arvina, too, for the sheer fact that Adriel would not have been able to go. It was an unfortunate state of affairs. Myrth only wanted to dance with him.

“Don’t let me hold you up, though,” he said with an encouraging smile. “Light, run amok. Do all those crazy festival things your breed is known for. Go without me.”

“I will,” she murmured softly, and his smile vanished with a suspicious brand of speed.

On that dour note, Myrth departed from the Brown Ajah headquarters, barring a smile from her face. Was it that he didn’t like dancing? It was a thought that crested her mind, though one she would never bring up to his face, certainly. There was equal danger in accusing one’s lover and an Aes Sedai of lying, and Adriel al’Tanthe happened to qualify for both. Still, she didn’t explicitly mention him saying that he had been assigned a report this past day that had to be finished tonight, exempting him from the Feast of Lights. He had never said this. He hadn’t. Of course, his speech always seemed to invite discourse of all varieties, and it could be that he was making no deliberate attempt to leap around the truth in a most Aes Sedai-like way.

On the other hand, he could very well be doing exactly that.

If it was just that Adriel didn’t want to spend a festival with her, though . . . well, suffice to say, she was disappointed. At the same time, she wouldn’t let this get her down. If it was a day of following in the footfalls of Aes Sedai to which her fate was consigned, well, so be it. Myrth had long since learned to smile in spite of the world, and it was this trait she would wield openly this day. She smiled. And it almost felt genuine this time, too.

Today, Myrth wore her shawl, allowing its yellow-gold fringe to dangle artlessly in around her shoulders. It all but masked her length of dark brown hair, flowing down to her knees. Myrth made a concerned effort to distract herself from issues of . . . of men. Light, she was considering doing something with her hair. A side-part might be a nice change, or bangs. She had never been entirely partial to bangs, though, of course, it was the change that was worth it. And, too, Adriel wasn’t very partial to bangs, either. She thought she might go with bangs, then.

Clad in a handsome violet feastday gown, Myrth departed into the day. She wore no cloak, though; even with the snow, she did not think she would need it. After all, the infamous Aes Sedai trick to ignore the cold had become second nature in her many years since earning the shawl, and a wellspring of concentration that once had been required to summon this state of mind was now little more than an afterthought. Decorations had been placed (likely by penitent novices) to no reasonable end: garlands and mistletoe and filigree and sundry other ornamental pieces had been placed and placed again, several lining the crowded path that brought one from the Tower to the garden. Myrth folded her arms comfortably, passing a gaggle of chattering novices (only two remembered bows, but she didn’t really mind) who received no more than a muted smile for her. Light, but she really could be a stick in the mud sometimes. With Adriel decidedly absent . . . it just was hard.

With the sun, a pallid ball of yellow ice, smiling silently down upon her, Myrth made her way to the gardens, brown eyes widening in wordless delight for the further decorations that had been placed. Sans doubt in the least, the walk here had been outdone. Trees in their own right had been stung about and coloured with baubles and colourful ornaments, and coloured lanterns–each emitting a unique, Power-decided hue–dotted the whitewashed canvas of snow.

Myrth shifted, leaving little more than the sound of crunching snow in the crisp winter’s air. Light, she was trying. She was–

At once, awareness and sensory and a thousand words melded into one rushed her, swept her, and the bond shifted. The bond. It was a tiny pocket of knowledge, of sentience, that seemed most often like a storm encased in a thimble. Suddenly, without warning, that thimble shattered asunder, and Myrth became very specifically aware of Lysander’s presence in the White Tower grounds. She turned where she stood, spinning, looking over idle, mingling heads that seemed worlds taller than she was. The bond indicated south, and she looked south–and, in the distance, a procession was made available. Spilling out of the silver-lined gateways, he led it. Lysander T’hoth, if not for his rank and whatever appropriately accompanied such, was not a very outstanding man. He was not taller than all too many of the recruits, and she found this somewhat amusing. Her bondmate.

The events which had accompanied the taking of the bond were etched well into her skull. Then, he had been but a lowly Dedicated, with no more than aspirations for the Sword. Something as farfetched as the title of M’Hael surely had never crossed his fickle mind. He had required her Healing prowess, and, upon, getting what was needed, he had planned to terminate her. Fortunately, the act of bonding–against his will, of course–was all that had saved her from almost certain disaster. Of course, no soul but the pair knew of the bond.

The man was a Darkfriend. She knew this. Her hatred of the Shadow, a hatred uniquely branded into her for reasons she would not bother repeating, could allow no lost love for this idiot of a man. At the same time, he led the Black Tower, and Myrth had never heard of such a contradiction. She should report him. She should. She really, truly should.

Myrth shifted, feeling like an idiot. She knew perfectly well why she had never reported him, and, in secret moments in her skull to which none but her own conscience was invited, she hated herself for it. She liked it. Myrth liked exercising that power! That control! A man who was considered one of the world’s most powerful (militaristically speaking, at least) could do naught to stop her! Naught! And she laughed and cheered and would practically dance for this truth, but, again, only in the private recesses of her mind.

Some time passed. Not much, but some. Snow fell and stopped, put an end to specifically by some nearby Cloud Dancers, and the Amyrlin gave her typical address. All the while, Myrth was milling in around the refreshments table, eyeing one canopied pavilion in particular. Lysander was standing there, conversing in hushed tones with another Asha’man whose name she could never realistically fathom. He had to know she was there, right? That was how the bond worked, right? Oh, he was just being fickle, then. He just didn’t want to look at her for spite.

A song began, and the air was so touched with the dulcet notes of the philharmonic, singing unto the wind in chords of brasses and strings and various percussion instruments. Well. With a smooth, Aes Sedai-like glide, Myrth padded the distance barring her from Lysander himself. Grinning, Myrth approached. The M’Hael could do nothing further to pretend she was not there, for even his black-coated companion was peering directly at her.

“Good day, M’Hael,” she said, smiling. “Care for a dance?”

It was spite. Spite was what compelled her to ask such a question: pure, glorious, undiluted spite. Adriel was not making his presence at the festival, and, as such . . . well, this was spite. She was powerless to the whims of her lover, but she exercised power in every way, shape, in form over Lysander T’hoth, M’Hael of the Black Tower. And she exercised it indeed.

He was powerless to refuse.

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