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Ashes to Ashes
Mon May 8, 2006 6:28pm (XFF:

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 heading back to the White Tower, as much as she didn’t want to be there either. It had been a very long day for her, fraught with damage to her pride and body. But, alas, she was disappointed when she stepped through the door and saw no White Tower in sight. Instead, she was looking at what appeared to be a battleground.

This is truly a wicked place! Sabine once more thought of home and Caemlyn where she had been protected from sights like these and people who wanted to hurt her. Why the Aes Sedai brought them here was beyond her, as she didn’t much listen to the explanations that were given. Much of it was outside her understanding, even if she did hear words like Kin and shawn-something. Unfortunately, she did hear that the novices were to help clean this farm thing, whatever that was. And, then they were supposed to write something? Well, Sabine would see about that.

It did not take long for Sabine’s dress, which had been turned back to white, to take on another color. Soon, much of her seemed dusty enough to have turned gray as she trotted back and forth with the other novices from the piles of ash to the Aes Sedai, dropping spare bits of pottery and other broken things at their feet. THIS is the only way to learn? By cleaning up a mess that someone else had made? Sabine was truly starting to think that the White Tower wasn’t a place of learning at all, and just somewhere that servants were trained instead. She could not understand at all why no one else was causing a fuss, and since they weren’t, neither would she. Sabine could be as stubborn as anyone when she wanted to be, which was usually all of the time. But, secretly, she was thinking that she wanted to be as far away from the White Tower as she could be and as soon as possible.

After what seemed like forever, and what was really only a short time, Sabine began to realize that some of the other novices were peeling off to begin whatever they were supposed to be writing. Sabine hadn’t thought of what to do about that yet, whether outright refusal or admittance that she appeared to be the only novice that couldn’t write. Perhaps it was something she should learn in the future? But, she scoffed at that idea. She’d never had to write before coming to the White Tower and once she left, she’d never have to again. So, the only possible solution was for her to devise a way to get around this so-called requirement. Sabine considered what likely options that she could get away with while traipsing back and forth a few more times.

Soon, however, she realized that she couldn’t delay the inevitable any longer. She was the only novice still looking for items to deposit at the Aes Sedai’s feet and they were starting to look at her askance. And, Miravalles Sedai was finally approaching her, with parchment and pen in hand.

“It’s time for the lesson to end for the day, child. You’re not going to give me problems with this are you?”


Miravalles Sedai blinked in surprise. “What do you mean, yes? You’re in enough trouble today, or would you like to add to it? If not, then write your thoughts on the parchment and we can head home.”

Sabine was still sifting through a pile of ashes, knowing that there was no more debris to be found, but feeling more uncomfortable by the moment with the Aes Sedai’s attention on her. This was very much unlike her, as she was nearly always confident. But, something about admitting that she was lacking in some way, shape, or form, was completely unnerving her.

“I’m not writing the message.”

Perhaps it was the way the novice was acting, but a light seemed to dawn in the Aes Sedai’s eyes, one that Sabine didn’t see crouched over as she was. Certainly one didn’t become Aes Sedai without picking up on a few things that a novice child would be trying to hide, particularly one who had tried to run away and would probably want to be finished with a lesson as soon as possible. “You won’t, child, or you can’t?”

Sabine didn’t answer her, nor did she look at Miravalles Sedai, but she flinched ever so slightly. Enough for the Aes Sedai to notice. “Well, child, if that’s the case...I’m going to leave this parchment right here, and if instead you’d like to draw something in reference to the Kin, you could...or if you’d like myself or Thorhild Sedai to write a few things down for you, then we will. But, nonetheless, you need to leave a message for the Kin in some way or your penance will be increased for failure to finish the lesson as instructed.”

When Sabine turned, the Aes Sedai had already glided off, but there was the parchment and pen sitting upon an overturned log. She eyed it askance for a few minutes, puzzling the conversation over in her mind. A picture? Well, Sabine supposed that would be okay. At least she would have less to do with the Aes Sedai that way, rather than one of them writing down what she wanted to say. She really could care less about what had happened here, just that it had been ruined. Why dwell on the past? She had goals in mind, and they did not include sitting here and thinking about how this place had been destroyed.

At first, Sabine still couldn’t think of anything to put on the parchment, and the pen felt odd in her hand that had begun to stiffen up from the scratches. She was feeling far from joyful or reminiscent, and she certainly didn’t feel sorrow for what had happened to the Kin. She still wasn’t even sure what they were, just a group of women who hid from Aes Sedai? Maybe she should join them. Finally, Sabine began to draw a few women’s faces, just basic shapes, as she definitely wasn’t an artist. She added a few dark clouds over their heads and tears to their faces. It was a sad picture, just like the surroundings. Figuring it was good enough, Sabine handed it in to the Aes Sedai.

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