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My horse Lost!!
Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:41pm (XFF:

“Now, students, you may notice the daggers hanging down from the necks of some of the women. These are called marriage knives.” Lilli listened with unvarying attention as the Aes Sedai began what seemed very much like a lecture. “There are multitudinous meanings for these. If the knife has a white or blue sheath, the woman is a widow–white if she intends to remarry and blue if she does not. The number of red stones represents one’s number of daughters, while the number of white stones refers to the number of sons. If these are settings of these colors as opposed to stones, then this denotes children having died in duels. If the—”

And then a pair of novices interrupted, and thus commenced the explanation on what the settings around some of the stones meant: ultimately, the deaths of children. Lilli was saddened by this, though she was caught in wonderment, as well; who would want to wear such a grievous memorandum around their necks their entire lives? She peered at the Altarans who passed her by in a new light, and wiped her sweaty, pudgy palms on her green skirts. White skirts, technically speaking, but they looked green to everyone’s eye, including hers. It was fascinating, and strangely exhilarating, this! Parading around a foreign land and pretending to be people they were not! She felt jittery inside, and was certain an Altaran would stare at her any minute and figure her out. The Seanchan—now they were a blood-chilling thought! She shuddered, despite the infernal heat.

Thorhild Sedai and Miravalles Sedai, the latter whom had been specified as her group’s leader—she had been chagrined when Rosamund had lost, yet she had cheered for the novices who had won, anyway; not that they paid her any attention—, instructed them with assignments they were to perform for this next segment of the lesson, and as the novices in the first group fanned out to execute their mock duels, of which Lilli watched with horror and was thankful she didn’t have to do that, the participants of Group B clustered around Miravalles to receive their pamphlets.

Lilli was one of the last to receive her stock of pamphlets, and when she did she dipped a curtsy and murmured a shy, “Thank you, Aes Sedai.” At first she was unsure and most certainly apprehensive of what she must do, next, but pursing her lips with determination she followed the other green, gold-fringed skirts that fast disappeared into the Altaran throng. Once immersed into the crowd, she found herself clutching her pamphlets, holding them out, her blue eyes large and glimmering with an untold fear. Light, but this would not do! But what could she do? Lowering her eyes to the stack of folded papers, she grazed her sights over them.

Peace will scatter strife, one read, while another, Throw down your squabbles and go plant a tree! Swallowing, Lilli stumbled a few steps forward and nearly thrust a pamphlet in a man’s face. His olive-complexioned face first ported surprise, then disgust, then a distorting fury, and Lilli’s insides fluttered with the sudden presentiment of intense danger. “I—I—I….,” she stammered, her sights unable to meet his piercing gaze, but resting predominantly on the man’s bright, ornate vest. Those vests, she thought ineptly, whose flamboyance might have shamed a Tinker, seemed to be the trend of these Altaran men.

“What do you want?” the man growled deep in his throat, his irate nature showing by his balled fists, stance, the sword, and….Light, everything!

“I…,” Lilli began again, and unable to continue despite whatever her efforts, she thrust the pamphlets into the Altaran’s hands, and amidst the papers fluttering and raining down, she sped away as fast as her stumbling, rolling self would allow. Rejoining Miravalles Sedai in their designated meeting spot near the central fountain, she blubbered something incoherent, though meaning to say she had completed her task, and sat herself at a ledge to dry her face of tears.

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    • My horse Lost!! — Novice Lilli Bloom, Thu Apr 27 8:41pm
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