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Meeting a New Arrival
Mon Dec 4, 2006 17:26
85.166.192.94 (XFF: 160.99.205.52)

”Aranisia Sedai?”

A soft hand touched Ara’s forehead, and an even softer voice spoke again. “Aranisia Sedai, it’s just after second bell. You wanted me to wake you, Aes Sedai?”

Making her blue eyes open, Ara sat up, forcing herself to smile at the liveried girl standing next to her bed. “Thank you, Marien. You did well.” She yawned; eight hours of sleep apparently was not enough to catch up. It would have to do, however; there were things to be done, people to be seen, appointments to make. An Aes Sedai’s life might be more her own than that of a novice, but a novice was seldom in danger, seldom had to weigh the lives of one group against those of another. Some days Ara thought she had gotten the shorter end of the stick, for all the awed looks of peasants and nobles alike in the world beyond said otherwise.

“Thank you, Aes Sedai. May I bring you something to eat?” The girl curtsied smoothly, taking a polite two steps back from Ara’s comfortable four-poster bed. That was one big advantage of being an Aes Sedai rather than a more junior initiate; if a novice or Accepted was stupid enough to miss a meal by waking after the morning meal was over she had better start wishing for the usually limited mercies of the men and women in the kitchens.

“That would be lovely. Some egg and bacon, bread and butter should do the trick, along with some sweetened tea. Not too sweet, mind; one small spoon of honey will do nicely.” As an afterthought, the former sul’dam added; “no, forget that---bring me some kaf instead. Laras will show you how it’s done, I am sure.”

Marien curtsied once more before quickly withdrawing from the room after letting the bright sunlight as well as the cool morning air enter through the oval windows. Light, but it’s good to be in the City again! A smile crossed the young-seeming face at the faint sounds of a city awakened to a bright new day; ever since she came to Tar Valon she had been amazed by it. True, the first year at least she had denied her true feelings, trying to be as contemptuous as she thought was proper for a sul’dam entering an enemy stronghold as a prisoner, but even in her anger at being brought to the Tower for the first time her heart had leaped at the stunning city created by use of the Power and Ogier masonry both.

The day before – or night, rather; it had been dark and still when she returned to the Tower – she had had no thoughts of putting her things away, much less picking out the clothing she would wear on her first day in the Tower in more than a month. Going through her wardrobe didn’t take long; she still had no more than eight or nine dresses she thought proper for being in public. The four well-cut woolen dresses she had been presented with on her ascension to Aes Sedai had long since been neatly folded and put to the back of her chest; she had only been Aes Sedai for a few weeks when one of the older, more experienced Blues – Alera, who had equal shares of ambition and intelligence, and enough for two women of both – told her in no uncertain terms that woolen dresses would not do for a young Aes Sedai who wanted to be taken seriously by nobles. Ara had already ordered two silken dresses by then – she had seen to it the very day after receiving her stipend for the first time – but Alera would hear no objections and had promptly taken her newly raised sister to her own seamstress.

Smiling at the memory, Ara chose the very first dress she had had made. It was fairly simple, nothing elaborate; dark blue with slashes of cream in the skirt and matching seams in the bodice. ‘They will help in showing just how slim and pretty you are,’ the seamstress had said with a smile Ara had thought more appropriate for a serving maid in a tavern, but it was true; she did look even slimmer than she really was. Not that the former sul’dam could be criticized for being dumpy even when as naked as she had been on the day she was born; her curves were the exact same as they had always been since she came to the Tower. In truth, she knew she looked as if she wasn’t a day older than her real age had been back then, more than a decade ago; she looked as if she was 20 rather than closer to 35. Not a trace of agelessness, though; merely unspoiled youth. She braided her hair carefully; thick as a rope and light brown in color it hung to below her waist, wrapped with a thin, silken hairband in a blue that matched the dress.

~*~

“So you are ready to teach again?” Madeline’s voice was as soft as Ara remembered it from her novice and Accepted days – well, most of them, at least – and Ara nodded. She wasn’t nervous, exactly, just…aware…of herself, but she still almost she wished she had her shawl with its long blue fringe hanging smoothly around her shoulders. Standing before her desk like this brought back strong memories of the few times she’d been in this office while dressed in white, most of them quite uncomfortable.

She cleared her voice. “Yes, Madeline, I am ready to teach again.” The Green had not looked up from her papers; was she sick? No matter – Ara wouldn’t mind if she could be out of this office and on her way within minutes – she was hungry again, for one thing.

“Very well.” Madeline looked up, her pale blue eyes radiant as ever. It was her smile Ara knew she would remember, though; it was friendly, welcoming, heartwarming. “I will make a note of it.”

There was a knock on the door; too timid to be an Aes Sedai, but Ara also thought it too bold for a novice or Accepted coming to be chastised for one misdeed or another. Both of them looked towards the door, but before Madeline could rise Ara blurted out. “Let me go and welcome whoever is here, Madeline---your leg must be paining you.” Even as she spoke her face reddened; who knew how the Green would react to having her physical foible mentioned in that manner? There was no outward change in Madeline’s appearance, though – the Green had been Aes Sedai for longer than Ara had lived, after all, that much she knew even if talking of an Aes Sedai’s age was among the worst missteps possible, and well versed in the ability of keeping her face smooth – and she nodded.

On her way to the door Ara’s blue eyes were drawn to the slim mirror as if by their own accord; not to make sure her own appearance was in order – which it was – but because nearly every visit prior to this one had ended with her looking at her own tear-streaked face in it, sorely regretting the misstep that had brought her there. In the cabinet next to it were instruments most novices would get acquainted with at some point, and Ara could not look away fast enough from either.

At the door was a tall male novice Ara recognized and a dainty, slim little thing she did not. She did, however, recognize the spark in her and thus it was not hard to tell why the raven-haired girl was here. A new novice, then. She gave a friendly smile to Derlin, who bowed. “I will take it from here, Derlin. Thank you.” Turning to the girl after Derlin had bowed again and taken his leave, she continued. “And you must be a wanting to become a novice. I am not the Mistress of Novices – that is Madeline Sedai, I will be taking you to her – but I can tell that you are strong enough to become Aes Sedai one day, if you are dedicated and study hard. My name is Aranisia Sedai, and I am an Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah. Would you like to introduce yourself as I take you to meet Madeline Sedai?” Even after over a decade living on this side of the Aryth Ocean Ara’s voice was still what the people here called ‘slurred’, marking her as Seanchan for anyone who had their wits about them and had had repeated dealings with those they would call ‘her people’; as she waited for the girl to reply Ara found herself hoping she would not think of it, despite her obviously noble – and Cairhien, to make things worse – heritage.


~*~

(OOC: Okay, Jenna, you have landed yourself in the middle of a good ol’ Officer Plot! I hope you don’t mind. What we are going to do is have your lovely little novice introduce herself to Aranisia and then a bit later to Madeline. Aranisia – or Ara, as she thinks of herself – is going to be the next AMoN, and Donna and I thought we could use your string as a tool to get them somewhat more acquainted.

Reply with her thoughts and answers, minimum 300 words; if you need Ara to say or do something, please drop me an e-mail and I promise to get back to you quick.

Good luck, excellent bio and posting, and welcome to the site!

Brita, OOCly AMoN-ish)

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