Flames...Burning...the Sides of my Face...!
Sat Sep 2, 2006 16:44 (XFF:

“This is not the—“

Sonja turned on the boy, flinging open the heavy wooden door to the burning room with a dramatic gesture.

“Yes!” she announced. “This is indeed: the burning room!”

She put a hand on Dempsey’s back and unceremoniously pushed him into the room. The boy squawked, nearly tripping over his newly white-clad feet. The door slammed shut behind them.

They were in a bare, white-stoned room with rounded walls. The ceiling stretched high up above them, with an open space up in the black that funneled out the smoke. A fire pit was in the center of the room, a shallow bowl that was stained black with old ash and soot.

Dempsey stood gaping at the firepit, clutching his clothes to his chest. Tears welled in his eyes, and his lip trembled with pent up tears.

“Oh for the Light’s sake,” Sonja muttered. “Don’t be so ridiculous. They’re just bloody clothes.”

“They’re not just bloody clothes!” the boy blubbered. “They’re mine! Not yours! Mine! It’s not fair!

Sonja laughed. “Nope. It’s not. But I’ll tell you something, my dear young novice. Life is not fair. If you don’t get that now, you’ll figure it out soon enough. It’s something the Aes Sedai are real good at teaching.”

Dempsey scowled at her, his grip tightening on his clothes. “You can’t do this.”

“Sure I can. And I will. In a minute, though. I’ve got a few things to say to you.”

“I’m sure I don’t care a whit what you have to—“

Sonja stepped forward, putting a finger over Dempsey’s lips. “I can shut your mouth for you, you know, and I don’t even have to use the Power like Madeline Sedai did.” Her green eyes sparkled, and her lips curled into a smile.

It wasn’t that Sonja was one of those Accepted who liked to torture novices for the sheer fun of it. She didn’t like novices, but she wasn’t a spiteful person. Really, she just didn’t feel the need to put up with nonsense, and this young man was the biggest pile of nonsense that she’d seen all year. But at the very least, she could try to help him. In truth, she was being helpful, not cruel.

“You’re an easy one to figure out,” she went on, stepping back so he wasn’t quite so much in her face. “Noble blood, rich, spoiled, and used to having every one bloody cater to you. You’ve never had to work for anything, and you’ve never really had to suffer for anything, either. That’s why your values are so screwed up. Clothes aren’t important, Dempsey. Things aren’t important. Things are temporary. Things burn. They don’t last, so they’re not worth fussing over. They don’t make you burn your clothes because you like them or think they’re pretty. They burn them as a symbol. You get that?”

Dempsey scowled at her. “I get that you’re a commoner who thinks a shiny ring makes her—“

“No, I guess you don’t get it,” Sonja interrupted, ignoring the insult. “I guess it's just too deep for you. You think I’m only being mean. Well, you’re something of an idiot—and it doesn’t take a Gray to figure that one out. I’m trying to help you be less of an idiot, see? Only, I’m guessing I probably won’t get anywhere.” She sighed. “Oh well. Impossible task or not, I’ll give it a shot anyway. Listen up, noble boy.”

Dempsey did not seem to be appreciating the value of her words, but she charged on ahead.

“You’re here for a while, whether you like it or not. You’ve got an ability that you have to learn how to use, and that’s that. You’re in a place surrounded by people who are a whole lot more powerful than you, and a hell of a lot more powerful than your fancy Taborwins. The Amyrlin Seat can bloody tell the queen to dance a jig, and she would, so don’t think you can keep blustering and babbling without landing in hot water. You’ve got no choice.

“What I’m getting at, is if you want to be smart, you should give all these hysterics a rest and learn what you can before they kick you out. Or, you can keep crying and fighting and making a bloody fool of yourself and live a miserable life the entire time you’re here.

“Either way, your clothes are burning. Life as you know it is at an end, my dear white-clad friend.”

She reached out and snatched the pile of clothes away from him. Dempsey wailed, and flung out his hands, trying to claw at the bundle. A ragged bit of lace clung to his hand, and Sonja snatched it away. His cheeks burned, twin suns burning red against white, and his shouts and protests washed over her in a flood. She ignored them, tossing the pile of silks and velvets in the pit. Dempsey rushed towards the pit, as if he meant to fling himself into it and end it all along with his overly-decorated garments, but Sonja grabbed hold of the back of his shirt, hauling him back. For safety’s sake, she channeled a wall of Air around the pit, just in case the fool boy decided to go for desperate measures.

She snapped her fingers, and a flame winked into life over her hand. Dempsey’s eyes flew to the flame, then up to her face. Sonja smile. “Say goodbye to your pretty pants,” she sang out, and tossed the flame into the pit.

The fire caught, and leapt into life, hungrily licking at the crimson silk and the rich velvet. The lace crackled and curled, and the ribbons lit into flame. A putrid smell filled the room, and black smoke billowed towards the ceiling.

“Say goodbye to your spoiled, stupid life,” Sonja said, smiling brilliantly. “Say hello to your life as a Novice.”

Dempsey had fallen to his knees, and was sobbing hysterically, as if his bloody mother were burning on the pyre rather than a tasteless, overpriced outfit.

It was over in minutes. Sonja let the wall of Air come down, and with a few quick licks of Air, scooped up the ashes in a neat pile.

“See?” she said. “That wasn’t so bad, was it? You can keep the ashes, if you want. Just be sure you don't get your whites dirty.”

  • Unjust Brevity and the Burning RoomNovice Dempsey Apteco Taborwin, Thu Aug 31 17:10
    Dempsey had never been so mortified nor as angry when Madeline and the Accepted discussed the possibility of forcing him to wear his purple small clothes. Those were custom made! he thought to... more
    • Flames...Burning...the Sides of my Face...! — Accepted Sonja Meranes, Sat Sep 2 16:44
      • Anger, Fear, and PanicNovice Dempsey Apteco Taborwin, Sat Sep 9 07:57
        Dempsey felt assuredly and soundly shocked. They had actually burned his clothes. They were nothing but ashes, despite his protests, despite his demands. They had burned his clothes. The foul... more
        • Stupid, dumb, and moronic.Accepted Sonja Meranes, Sun Sep 17 17:31
          Sonja’s amusement fell away, and she stared at the boy in utter shock. Her hand drifted to her cheek, and her brows fell sharply. Anger flooded her, and with it came saidar . She channeled, yanking... more
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