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Rubble Rumble
Mon May 1, 2006 10:22am (XFF:

When the remaining Aes Sedai instructed them that they were permitted to ‘roam the square’, Lilli nearly panicked. How the notion of going off alone in this land sounded perverse, to say in the least! Still, the other novices seemed to prance off happily enough, and she decided to follow suit, since after all, perhaps this was part of the lesson as well, and their conduct might be noted. Her first lesson, and it hardly fell well on her mind to think she would be graded off. Thus she timidly followed the last green, gold-fringed skirt in line, determining herself to follow that corner of a garment and naught else, and then perhaps she wouldn’t be kidnapped, gutted, and thrown in some deserted gutter; blinking with apprehension, she ducked her way into a shop.

A ribbon shop, it turned out, and as she glanced about the ‘L’-shaped counter she saw other novices—dominantly girls; well, so she sighted no boy so far—squealing with delight as they fingered fine ribbons of pink, lilac, and yellow, or thick, textured ribbons of ribbed cloth, or light, drifty ribbons of a lacy material that was intricate in design… Though it interested her, somewhat, and tempted her to reach out and stroke a silken length of ribbon herself, she shyly remained withdrawn, and when sighting the first novice shuffling out she quickly shadowed her. That novice soon led her into the next establishment, which turned out to be a pastry shop.

Warm, sweet smells suffused the air as they entered, and Lilli couldn’t help but smile as her gaze latched onto the neat rows of scones and muffins and croissants in prim, wooden trays, and the round, crusty loaves of bread that sat on the surface of the counter, cooling after their final bake. Her likewise round stomach gave a timely growl, and Lilli sighed, watching as other novices joined the one she had followed and all three began to chatter whilst pointing animatedly at the assortments. How long had she stood there? Suddenly she was aware of an elderly man seated at a small round table in the corner, watching her. Goose-pimples ran over her flesh.

She blinked in rapid concession, suddenly feeling a strong sense of worry, but when she finally stored enough courage to glance his way, the man only smiled at her, age creasing the corners of his eyes. It was a gentle, grandfatherly smile, and Lilli was instantly pacified. How could such a kind old man harm her? She smiled back as prettily as she could, and when she focused her sights on him again, she found him waving her towards him. She paused, but obeyed, and when she had sufficiently approached him, he gestured to the seat next to him. Lilli dubiously sat herself on the metal-wrought chair of intricate whorls and curls, albeit the doubt was more for the chair than for anything else.

“And how do you do, pretty girl?” the old man asked, and Lilli smiled at him smiling at her. When she was anything but ‘pretty’! Kind, kind man. She instantly warmed for him.

“I’m alright, sir.”

“You and your….colleagues are on a field-day?” he asked, sparing a look for the other novices who were so cleverly disguised in green.

“Yes, sir. We’re from the W—” She blushed. “…the wonderful Academy of Ebou Dar, sir.”

The man nodded pleasantly, taking nothing amiss, and if he didn’t, he didn’t indicate anything. “I was just leaving, and I had such a pretty cake to go to waste,” he smiled his wrinkled smile down at the generous piece before him, “and I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind having it?” He patted his stomach, “These old bowels can’t tolerate such sweets anymore.”

“Why, sir! Thank-you, but…”

“Thank-you.” With that the man gave her a wink and walked away in his leisurely, steady gait, and Lilli was left staring down at the morsel of cake in wonder. Did that just happen? It was a pretty little thing, with swirling pink icing decorating its angled surfaces, and sprinkled with a layer of chocolate chippings. Quite unlike her, who was fat, lumpy, and in a word, shapeless.

When the cake was eaten and she rejoined the others in the center of the square, she found that Miravalles Sedai was awaiting them, with Thorhild Sedai who had returned. The flock of green-garbed novices followed the sisters in relatively silent procession, and a length of time later, in which Lilli absorbed the sights of the Altaran streets around her, they stopped near an alleyway. One of those gateways was created, and they each stepped through with haste. Any delusion of the white spire of the White Tower looming over them—for that was where Lilli had assumed they were returning to—shattered and blew away in the wind when she gazed about and perceived a wasteland. Everything was in shambles, and all an ugly shade of grey! Even the air seemed grayer, here.

Her expression turning forlorn to match its surroundings, Lilli swerved her vision to her instructors when they began to speak. “This place was once known as the Farm,” Miravalles Sedai said, “It used to be the home of the Kin. Rubble only now remains, as you can see. The Kin is a group of channelers whose origins date back more than two thousand years. They largely included initiates who had been turned away from the White Tower, whether by failing the test for Acceptance or Aes Sedai. Some had run away.” Lilli shivered involuntary at the notion; someone would dare run away from the White Tower? “The Tower was knowledgeable of these individuals, but made no attempt at interaction.”

In time they came across a little woman hardly taller than Lilli herself, a pleasant-looking woman who was soon introduced as Mistress Synnove. “Your imminent task is simple, really.” Thorhild Sedai told them then, “You will help clean up the Farm. It truly is the only way you can learn, and I hope what you find in the ashes helps you realize what the Kin had to leave behind.” She continued with her instructions, and then they were set off to do as told; Lilli went off without hesitation in her step this time, strangely enough, though in all logic going off alone in a site of ruins should have been scarier than dispersing herself in a crowded square. She felt heartfelt sympathy for the members of the had-been Farm, and emotion moved her nearly to tears even as she walked.

Pick up the rubble, the Aes Sedai had said, and Lilli wasn’t slow upon doing that. She found broken pieces of wooden, parts of caved in ceiling beams and trunks and bedposts, as well as bits and pieces of charred cloth, what may once have been a dress and now contained a large hold down the front, and the like. She found the remains of a saddle, which got her to think of the poor horse and what must have happened to it, and a decimated straw-doll, which enabled her to dwell on the once-children who must have run around these streets, bare-footed… When she returned to Mistress Synnove with a musty woolen cloak that had somehow been saved from the state of wreckage, her cheeks were glistening.

Lilli had always been a writer, and now she poured out her tamped pathos into the sheaf of paper issued to her, her flowing script filling up the page with ease as she spoke of the Kin, the Farm, the Red Belts. She spoke of what had been, and what had to be, and of condolences. Emotional as she was, she blotted out more than a few words with her tears, but in the end when she turned it in and the Aes Sedai sealed it in the center of the once-Farm as they had said, she knew she had left a piece of her heart in this place.

OOC: Eee, the sentimental! Thanks Mark for the lesson.:)

  • Part II: KinshipMiravalles Sedai of the Brown Ajah, NPC, Fri Apr 28 9:17pm
    Adopting an amused sort of smirk, Miravalles watched as the novice–Necros, unless she was greatly mistaken–broke into an uncontrolled tumble into Thorhild. The pair of them fell to the cobbles below, ... more
    • Ashes to AshesNovice Sabine al'Risa, Mon May 8 6:28pm
      When they were led away from the square and down an alley where the Aes Sedai again created one of those doorway-type things, Now that would be a useful trick! Sabine was really hoping that they were ... more
    • Rubble Rumble — Novice Lilli Bloom, Mon May 1 10:22am
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