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Happy Nameday
Mon Jan 23, 2006 15:42 (XFF:

Soft rays of morning sunshine filtered down through the sheltering trees, lightly caressing the braided blonde hair of the sleeping woman. With a sigh, Allael turned over in her sleep and woke abruptly as her back slid away from the tree trunk she'd been resting against. "Oh blood and ashes!" She whispered fiercely, realizing that she'd fallen asleep rather than keeping watch. Anything could have happened while she and Soradrelle slept. It seemed, however, as though they'd gotten lucky this time-all was quiet here. Allael glanced over to where Soradrelle lay sleeping, blissfully unaware that morning had ascended. Allael took this rare opportunity to watch him as he slept, glad that for a short time he could find some peace. She'd frightened him terribly yesterday, and felt badly about it. She had to admit that she had felt vastly relieved when he had fallen asleep, and she herself felt more refreshed and calm after a good nights rest.

After a few moments, Allael got up and attended to the call of nature. When she finished, she happened to find a small pond nearby and washed as well as she could in the cold water. Her reflection stared back up at her from the rippling surface-her blonde hair disheveled, slightly pointed Andoran features, eyes as green as the grass in spring. Something about her own features seemed to stir some nagging thought in the back of her mind, but she couldn't quite put her finger on what it was. Shrugging her shoulders she walked back to their impromptu camp and sat once more across from Soradrelle. She continued to watch him sleep when suddenly he startled her by abruptly opening his eyes and looking directly into hers. "I remember. . . I remember everything. And I remember you, Sister." He said, his words ringing in the cool morning air.

Allael could only sit there and stare at Sora, the 'Good morning' she'd been about to greet him with dying on her lips. He was watching her closely, with an intense gaze that was slightly disturbing. This wasn't the Soradrelle she'd become accustomed to, and she was afraid that yesterday's experiences had somehow completely unhinged him. Putting a comforting hand on his shoulder she replied, "Shh, Sora, you're still dreaming. Go back to sleep."

Sora shook his head, never taking his piercing gaze off of her. "No, I'm not. And I've never felt so rested. I remember, Allael. "I was raised by the Tuatha'an, by my foster parents. I went to the White Tower to train. I left, and that's when I met you. But I also met you before, when I went through the silver arch. I don't know how, but you are my sister."

"Sora, that's wonderful! But I'm not. . . " The words died on her lips as she met his piercing gaze, and with a shudder she realized why he'd always seemed so familiar. The same eyes, the same blonde hair. . . as she looked upon his face it almost seemed as though she was looking at her reflection in the pool, again, and the nagging thought at the back of her mind came to the forefront. She closed her eyes tightly against Sora's face, however, and shook her head, reining her thoughts in. That is impossible. Tobin is dead, and no amount of wishing will make Soradrelle my brother.

Opening her eyes, she found Soradrelle still staring at her intently, as though willing her to believe him. It wasn't that she didn't want to, quite the contrary. Nothing would make her happier to know her brother was alive and well…but the whole thing just seemed too far fetched. She needed proof, something more solid than appearance. Taking a deep breath to steady the emotions swirling about in her head she asked, "What's your nameday?"

Sora smiled at her. "Today." Allael shook her head. It was impossible, then. Her only brother was her twin, and her nameday was close, true, but it wasn't until. . . she quickly figured the days, frowned, and figured them again. Until today. Abruptly she stood, unable to stand his gaze any longer. She walked a few steps away, and leaned her head against a tree, trying to sort it all out. Then Sora said calmly, "I need to clear my head, think a few things out. Do you mind if I go for a walk?" It was like he was reading her mind, for she needed to stop and think about things as well. She nodded and told him to be careful-she couldn't help it-then watched him as he quietly left camp and headed into the woods.

While he was gone, Allael sat and thought rationally about all the facts. If she examined it closely it all fit, really. The Tinkers who remained alive wouldn't want the child they were protecting to go back to such a violent man. So they lied, told her father that the baby had died. In truth, they really took the baby with them, and raised him as a Tuatha'an. Changing his name and erasing all hints of his past. Even Soradrelle's ability to channel made sense - their mother had been Aes Sedai.

He wasn't gone long, and when he came back into the camp he smiled reassuringly at her. She took a deep breath and returned his smile, somewhat tremulously. "Would…would you like to know about your family? And what…what you were called when you were born?" Unsure what he was thinking, she hastily added, "I wouldn't expect you to change your name after all these years. I know you're Soradrelle. I just thought. . ." she hesitated, "that you might like to know. . . brother."

"Yes, I would, thank you." He said, coming close to her and placing a hand on her shoulder, as she had done to him earlier. A touch light as a feather brushed her cheek as he asked, "Are you feeling alright?"

"Yes, I'm fine. It's just…It's all so…Light! Burn me if I thought I'd ever be struck speechless." She replied, laughing out loud. Her laughter seemed to help release a little of the emotion that was overwhelming her, and she began to feel a bit like herself again. Impulsively she threw her arms around him, hugging him close to her. That was when the tears she'd been holding on to burst forth. Sora hugged her back, just as tightly, and then the tears of joy she didn't realize she'd been holding back burst forth. After a time she quieted and gave him a rather sheepish look. "I'm sorry. I'm not usually this emotional." They both laughed, and went back to their packs where they got some of the dried fruit to eat. When they were settled, Allael began to tell Sora of his family.

"Well, our father is Eldin al'Cantar. And our mother's name was Camille. When we were born you were called Tobin. Father is still living, as you know, and Mother…she died a few weeks after we were born." Allael fell silent for a moment, and Soradrelle leaned forward and hugged her again.

"How did she die?" He asked quietly.

Allael sighed-she really didn't want to tell this story. But Soradrelle deserved to know, and she had offered to tell him about his family. "Mother was Aes Sedai, and Papa was her Warder. When we were born another Aes Sedai had a foretelling, telling Mother that the Way of the Leaf would be our salvation. So they went in search of some Tinkers, and found a band here in Andor. They were going to give us to them, to be raised as Tuatha'an. But some Whitecloaks evidently found out about it, and attacked, hoping to kill the 'Tar Valon Witch.' It was bloody - the two of them killed most of the Whitecloaks. But Mother was fatally injured while Papa was protecting me." She sniffled, feeling a twinge of guilt over being the cause of her mother's death, albeit indirectly. "One of the Tuatha'an women ran off with you, and when Papa found her, she said you'd died. So he buried Mother and settled in Andor to take care of me."

Sora came over, sat beside her, and placed an arm around her shoulder, perhaps to avoid the awkwardness of leaning forward every minute to hug her. Then, seeming again to read her mind, he spoke softly. "I was a Healer among the Tuatha'an, but when the Mahdi - my foster father - fell ill, I couldn't heal him. Perhaps if I'd gone to the White Tower to learn, I would have returned able to heal him. But I didn't - I stayed with the Tuatha'an until after he died. But we can't know the consequences of our actions, and our mother's death is on the Whitecloak's hands, not yours."

Allael gave a relieved sigh, as though she'd been vindicated of a crime she didn't commit. The guilt that she felt melted away. Of course, it was silly to ever have thought that it was her fault-she was only a baby when it happened. But it felt good to hear it from someone else. "Thank you Soradrelle. You have no idea how much better that makes me feel."

He gave her a squeeze to show he understood, then asked her what it was like for her growing up. She couldn't help but chuckle a little at the thought of her childhood. It had definitely been 'different'. "I grew up like any normal kid on a farm. Well.." She amended, "Like any normal boy. Papa didn't know anything about girls, or dresses, or anything like that. So, from the time I was walking I wore breeches. He taught me how to fish, and track and hunt. He taught me to shoot a bow as well as, if not better than, most men. All the girls in the village nearby teased me, and the goodwives all clicked their tongues and made dresses for me. But by then, I refused to wear them. I liked being who I was. It pleased me no end to traipse through the village in my breeches and watch their faces go red. " She laughed out loud, remembering with vivid detail the time that Widow al'Seen found the dress she'd made for her hanging like a flag from the tree in the center of village, along with the shift that was supposed to go under it. After that the women stopped sending dresses.

Soradrelle laughed with her, and she continued. "The boys were generally my friends, at least until I hit a certain age. Then they started acting differently, and wanting me to be more like a girl than a boy. And I think a few were jealous that I could hunt and shoot better than them. But I wasn't about to change for anyone. Then, when I was eighteen the traveling bug bit me. So I left home to see the world and I've been on the road ever since. I go home at least once a year, sometimes more if I happen to be nearby when winter strikes. But most of the time I'm wandering about, seeing what there is to see. "

"What about you?" she asked then, "What was it like to grow up with your foster family?"

"It was. . . well, I don't really know what to compare it to. Tuatha'an have family groups, too, but they're much more relaxed than most. The entire band is our family. So being the foster son of the Mahdi and his wife was never much of a deal to me. I never called them mother or father, but that was what they were like. And we were Tuatha'an. We traveled. I learned about the Way of the Leaf, and herb lore, and dancing, and mending pots." He smiled slightly. "You know, everything every Tuatha'an learns. When I went to the Tower I missed it all - the color, the Way, the traveling. . ." He hesitated a moment. "But you know, even though I left, I'll have to go back."

Allael felt a little uneasy at that-she didn't see why he should go back at all. So she asked, "If you left, then why do you have to go back? And more importantly, do you want to go back?"

Staring off into the distance contemplatively, Soradrelle answered slowly. "Once I was a simple Tuatha'an Healer. I could have remained such, but when the Mahdi died, I caught a glimpse of something. I could learn to make a difference, even more than I already did. So I went to the Tower to do something, to learn. But when I left, I was running away from something - from the threat I perceived to my way of life, to the Way of the Leaf. I was wrong, then - the threat is only as deadly as I let it be. More importantly, the Way does not consist of running, not truly, despite what the Tuatha'an nowadays do. There was a time when those who followed the Way had a purpose so strong they would walk towards certain death, unafraid. And I have a purpose to. . . I'm not sure what it is, but. . . but I wouldn't be following the Way if I ran from it. I can do the most good if I complete my training, and become Aes Sedai."

Allael nodded soberly. She guessed that everyone needed to have a purpose, something that made life worth living. And if Soradrelle felt his purpose was to become Aes Sedai…then it wasn't up to her to decide differently. "Well, if you still want me to, I'd be happy to travel with you to Tar Valon. But…" she hesitated, not really sure how Soradrelle would feel about her idea. "Winter is coming, and it won't be long before the snows come. I thought we could spend the winter with Papa. He'll be thrilled to see you, to know you aren't really dead. But if you're in a hurry to return to the Tower. . ."

"Oh!" Soradrelle shook his head quickly. "I didn't mean right away." Smiling reassuringly at her, he continued, "I would love to spend more time with you, and meet your. . . our. . . father. And you don't have to go with me when I return to Tar Valon, either." His smile widened to a grin, "I remember the way, now. Though I would be glad of your company."

Allael grinned back at him, feeling relieved. "It's my pleasure to go with you. It's one of the few cities I've never visited-I've only ever seen it from a distance. So it'll be a new adventure for me. Besides," she added, her smile taking on a mischievous look. "I've thought my twin was dead for nearly thirty years. We've got a lot of catching up to do." She laughed, and then looked at the sky, judging the time. "We've got lots of daylight left. Our farm in only about four or five days walk from here. I'm even more anxious to see Papa now. Do you want to head out and see how far we can get?"

Soradrelle readily agreed and the two broke camp quickly. It wasn't long before they were on the road once more, heading toward their Father's farm. Allael felt buoyed by a joyful spirit, and bounced along as she walked. My brother, she thought happily, I've found my brother. Turning to him and smiling she said, "Happy Nameday."

Thanks to Will for all your help!

  • Awakening to RemembranceRunaway Soradrelle, Fri Jan 20 18:50
    And thank you, Dawn. ;) Sora trailed along behind Allael, crying inconsolably. At first, he’d cried out of guilt, because of what he’d done to the bandits, and even more for what he’d done to Allael. ... more
    • Happy Nameday — Allael al'Cantar, Mon Jan 23 15:42
      • Presents!Runaway Soradrelle, Fri Feb 17 12:39
        As always, thanks to Dawn :) Soradrelle slipped quietly off into the woods - it was clear his sister needed time to think, to sort through things, but he hadn’t lied when he’d said he could use some... more
        • The Light's MercyAllael al'Cantar, Thu Feb 23 18:49
          The days after Soradrelle regained his memory seemed to go too quickly for Allael and she took great joy in her brother. As she no longer had to pause and explain the meanings of the simplest things... more
          • As it Once Was. . .Runaway Soradrelle, Wed Mar 22 18:18
            The first several days after he regained his memory, Soradrelle simply drank in the moment, thinking of neither future nor past. He knew he would return to the White Tower, eventually, but for now it ... more
            • There's no place like homeAllael al'Cantar, Thu Mar 23 16:52
              Allael woke up that morning feeling refreshed, and glad to be home. She'd given Sora her bed, so she'd slept on the floor-but for a person who was used to sleeping out of doors for the last few... more
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