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Let's not be nasty, now.
Sun Nov 12, 2006 07:53 (XFF:

Sonja felt heat rise to her cheeks, and she had to dig her nails into her palm to stop from letting that heat come to full boil. She was using her brain, burn the man! How dare he call her an idiot! Just because she wasn't used to this sort of thing didn't make her stupid, and it wasn't fair of him to be mean like that. It wasn't….professional! Worse, he was a Sitter for the White—it just wasn't right that he would resort to name calling. He should understand that she was trying her best...!

The heat faded, burning into a softer shade, more shame than anger. Okay, so maybe she wasn't exactly trying her best, but why should she? She was no White-in-training.

But she wasn't an idiot, either, she amended, shifting uneasily in her seat. Most people wrote Sonja off as simple, taking her blunt manner and concrete way of thinking as foolishness. Aes Sedai liked things to be as complicated as possible, all layered and shifty, but that just wasn't the way Sonja saw the world. Which was perfectly fine, in her opinion. Half of the problems that Aes Sedai had with getting things done was that folks didn't trust them. People didn't know their intentions, because of the Tower's way of coating everything with three layers of manipulation. Sonja never knew where she stood with most Aes Sedai, because they never just bloody said what they meant.

Even this fellow, Mahon. Here he was, supposedly trying to get her to 'learn to think', but why? Why was he here instead of the woman Sonja had arranged this lesson with? And if was allowing even the veneer of irritation to slip into his voice, what might he really be thinking? Was he really thinking Sonja was a common fool, or did he think she was secretly brilliant, needing only his coaxing to draw out her inner genius?

She sighed, rubbing at her temples with her hands. He had told her to think, so fine, she would think.

The light in the room had dimmed, as outside a veil of dark clouds was rolling in from the east. Thunder grumbled and rolled far off in the distance, and the curtains behind Mahon fluttered. Strange, how quickly a storm could come in. A thought skittered across the surface of her strained thoughts, an idle consideration that it would be nice to have a Talent like Cloud Dancing, to be able to read the patterns of the weather…

Hell, any Talent at all would be nice. Six years, and not even a hint of a Talent. She was a bloody failure, in the Tower's eyes. It wasn't fair. It just wasn't…

"Are you thinking?" Mahon asked mildly. Sonja's head jerked up.

"Of course I am," she snapped. "It's sort of hard though, when I keep getting interrupted."

Lightening crackled through the windows, and Sonja almost thought she could feel the air snap with electricity. The room had such a funny light to it now, all pale and yellowy grey.

Mahon's lips thinned. For a White, he sure had a hard time keeping his face straight, Sonja thought. She sighed again, and set about to her task. Define evil. Right. Just a simple question.

"I wasn't really giving up before," she said, deliberately softening her tone. "It's just that I really didn't know. How am I supposed to know these kinds of things? If you say there aren't any right or wrong answers, then what does that do for the White Ajah? Why 'seek the truth' if it changes so easily, with just a change in perspective?"

A gust of wind rattled the windowpane, and the white curtains snapped and fluttered like sails. Mahon's eyes shifted behind him, then the windows flew shut. Sonja gave a jump in her seat, startled. There was another injustice, right there—it just wasn't fair that women couldn't sense saidin.

He must have channeled again, because the candles lining the wall in silver sconces flared to light. The room was now as dark as dusk, and there was a lurid cast to the white walls, now dappled with dancing light and shadow. Sonja's eyes narrowed, on the White Sitter. There seemed to be something funny about the way he looked, as if he were…glowing, or something. Maybe she could see him him channel—maybe she was the first woman ever to be able to sense a man touching the One Power. Now that would be a Talent!

"Go on," Mahon said, resting his elbows on his chair. "Don't allow distraction to derail you."

Sonja bit her lip. What had she been saying? Oh, right. Good and evil and everything inbetween.

"Well, anyway, it just seems like…people who think that good and evil would be based on your intentions…I don't know. If you intend to hurt someone for the sake of hurting, like the man who kills the fellow's wife and daughter, then that's obviously evil at first glance. But then you have to look at why that man was coming in to murder them in the first place…maybe he was crazy, following the voices in his head or something. Or maybe the wife and daughter had done something horrible, like kill his wife and daughter. You just can't know. That's why we have laws, to define things for us. It's why we have judges to pick out the facts if the lines are blurry."

"So you're saying that law defines good and evil? What prevents the law from being wrong?"

"Well, nothing. But that's why laws can be changed. Usually, though, once you know the facts, I'd say it should be easy to figure out what's right and wrong. Someone who's good wants…well…good things. They serve the Creator. They want life to continue, and babies to smile and be happy, and bunnies to bounce around and be cute."

She squinted. Mahon looked funny again, but in a way she couldn’t pick out. The light around him looked sort of reddish… Light, maybe there was a twister coming in! She'd never seen a twister before, but she'd heard that the sky looked strange before one, sort of yellowy…

Don't get distracted, she told herself. She really did want to show that she wasn't an idiot, not so much to get this man's approval, but more to prove to herself. She was so tired of being taken for a simpleton.

"Okay, scratch that about the bunnies and babies. But you should see what I mean. There's perspective, like you say—what the husband sees, with his dead wife and daughter, there's what the killer sees, and then there's the truth. What really is. You can't judge right or wrong just on intentions, but on the facts, on what really happened. Rather than trying to hem and haw about the nature of good evil, I think you just have to hunt for the facts. What really happened. Thought and intention is one thing, but you can't argue with facts."

She sighed, and shook her head. "I don't know if that made any sense. You can't say I didn't try this time—I really did." Green eyes lifted, fixing on the White sitter with sudden intensity. "And I would appreciate if you didn't call me an idiot, Mahon Sedai. Just because I haven't spent years like you thinking all these deep thoughts doesn't mean I'm stupid."

  • Are you a woman or gnat?Mahon Sedai, White Ajah (NPC), Sat Nov 11 19:05
    "Don't be an idiot." Mahon snapped at her, his patience wearing thin. "You can most certainly be wrong if decide to take the lazy way out and give such a half-thought answer." Indignation warred with ... more
    • Let's not be nasty, now. — Accepted Sonja Meranes, Sun Nov 12 07:53
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