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To Seek is to Find
Sat Jan 13, 2007 20:46 (XFF:

It would be nearly a month on the road before Tira encountered any kind of progress regarding her mission. As she traveled through the vast, empty countryside, she couldn’t help but think about how lonely it was. Tira had spent most of her life surrounded by people; whether it was the comings and going in the palace, or the crowds of novices and accepted traversing the halls of the White Tower. She found herself wishing for the sounds of voices, and the bustle of activity. Instead, the only activity she heard was the birds in the trees, or the small ground animals foraging for their winter stores. At times the silence was oppressive, and she would pray for the end of the day when she would reach the next inn she would be staying at.

Happy Feet, however, was able to maintain her sunny disposition. She rode through the countryside, asking at each village and town she came to if anyone had seen a band of Tuatha’an recently. Most people just scoffed and said they were glad not to be plagued by the thieves. Having a close friend of Tuatha’an heritage made it hard for her not to defend them as a people when others started spouting misconceptions. But she merely nodded at them and went on with her journey. She herself had known little enough about the Tuatha’an before she met Sora, and she was sure the knowledge he'd provided would serve her well.

She still wasn't confident that a band would accept an Aes Sedai among them, though apparently a band had accepted his mother, and even his father, a Gaidin. But she didn't know what she would say when they asked her why she wanted to travel with them - she could only hope she would think of something when the time came. Tira had taken a westerly route, though she skirted around the Black Hills and made her way across the Caralain grass. She traveled along rutted old dirt roads where ancient paving stones occasionally poked their way out of the dirt, showing just how long the road had been there. Finally, as Autumn turned into full winter before her eyes, she finally found evidence of a band of Tuatha’an.

“Aye, they came through here just a few days ago,” said the balding blacksmith she’d stopped to chat with. “Of course, we didn’t let them stay more than a day. Filthy thieves they are, the lot of them.” Tira’s eyes narrowed at the man, but she held her tongue. Until she reached the band of Tinkers, she would not reveal her status to anyone. The fact that she was Aes Sedai would probably scare the senseless boob silly, but that wasn’t her goal. Her goal was to find the Tuatha’an and whether this man liked Tinkers or not, he’d just helped her.

“Thank you for your information sir. It is much appreciated.” She said, in her clipped Kandori accent. Before leaving, she had the blacksmith check Happy Feet’s shoes to make sure they were still in good condition. After he assured her that they were, she quickly saddled up and headed in the direction the man said the band had taken. Sora had told her that Tuatha’an generally kept a gentle, leisurely pace and camped early, so if she hurried and didn't stop until nightfall she expected she would be able to catch up with them quickly.

She stopped at an inn in the next small town, just as darkness began to creep across the sky; it wasn’t wise to go any further once it got dark. After she paid the innkeeper and retired to her room, Tira went to bed and fell asleep almost immediatley.

Tira opened her eyes to find herself amidst chaos. Smoke was filling the air, and screams were coming from all directions. The sounds and smells of burning were prevalent and she turned in horror to see Tuatha’an wagons burning. Men with torches and other weapons were advancing on the helpless Tinkers, who either fled or stood petrified, unable to even run away. Tira had long since become used to these types of dreams, and didn’t try to participate anymore, she merely watched, taking in as many details as she could so that she could record them upon waking. Then, out of the corner of her eye she saw a figure emerge from a group of Tinkers. She couldn’t make out his features. All she could see was his silhoutte. She knew he was a tinker by the bright colors that managed to radiate through the haze, which was why what happened next shocked her. The Tuatha’an took up a long piece of wood, holding it as one would hold a spear, then he launched it into one of the attackers. The man fell to the ground, impaled, and the other Tuatha’an looked at him in fear. Then, as if there were not danger all around, the remaining traveling people standing around the mysterious figure turned their backs on him, as if he didn’t exist, and she knew that they considered him lost. Then, Tira wondered if this was what she was trying to prevent, and when the dream faded she woke up and put it quickly to paper.

The next day she got an early start, and by evening she came around a bend to find the caravan, camped in a clearing of leather leaf trees. The Tinkers were settling in for the night, dancing and singing around the fire. As she approached, a pack of baying hounds ran out of the camp, growling and snarling aggressively. Once again, Sora's information proved invaluable - he'd told her the dogs were only for show, and so she dismounted easily and reached out a hand to one of them. Tentatively it sniffed her, then whined, as though something about Tira bothered him. Then he bounded off in the direction of the wagons.

Color abounded in the clearing with the Tinkers brightly painted wagons. Eye-jarring combinations of red, green, blue and yellow were prevalent everywhere, including in their clothes. She herself was dressed in a light blue woolen gown, with a fanciful thread pattern in yellow winding around the hem and sleeves, and over the front of the bodice. She quickly returned her great serpent ring to her finger as an older couple approached her. It became obvious the man was the Mahdi of the band by his greeting.

"You are welcome to our fires. Do you know the song?" He said solemnly, bowing with both hands to his chest.

Tira returned the gesture as Sora had shown her and replied, "Your welcome warms my spirit, Mahdi, as your fires warm the flesh, but I do not know the song."

"Then we seek still. As it was, so shall it be, if we but remember, seek, and find.” He finished. “I am Galen, and this is my wife Chesna. Welcome, Aes Sedai,” he said, noticing her ring.

Nodding her head in acknowledgment of his observation she replied, “I’m Tira. If you will permit me, I‘d like to travel with your band for a time.”

“You are welcome to travel with us as long as you like.” The Mahdi said, smiling.

“Thank you Galen,” She replied warmly. A young man, who looked to be about Sora’s age stepped forward. He was taller than Tira’s considerable height of five feet and ten inches, topping her by nearly half a foot. His long reddish hair was tied back in a leather thong. The thought of Sora sent a sudden wave of homesickness for the tower through her, but she resolutely pushed it away. All the long years of her training she’d yearned to see the world and make a difference in it. Now she had the chance to do so.

“My name is Aneirin. If you like I can help you with your horse,” he offered. Tira accepted his help, and they walked to where the Tuatha’an tethered their own animals.

Softly he asked, “ What's her name? She seems a pleasant creature."

Tira smiled and replied, “I thought the same when I purchased her. She’s a sprightly thing, and always seems as if she is smiling. So I named her Happy Feet.”

“Happy Feet?” He said, chuckling. She guessed it wasn’t a very dignified name for the horse of an Aes Sedai. But instead of poking fun, he merely said, “I like that. It suits her. Let me take care of her for you, and then I’ll join you at the evening meal.” Tira nodded and murmured her thanks, giving Happy Feet a pat on the nose before she walked away. She was looking forward to getting to know this band. Though she had a nagging thought in the back of her mind that things seemed to be going too easily, she dismissed it, and sat down at the fire to eat. The hot vegetable stew was welcome in the chill winter air, and she pulled her cloak closer to her for warmth. Now that she’d found them, it felt as though her mission had truly begun.

  • The Sin RepentedTira Chakima Aes Sedai, Blue ajah, Sat Jan 13 20:42
    Tira slept only a few short hours, knowing she would need some rest before starting her journey. She rose from her bed well before first light to make preparations. Laras was taking care of her food... more
    • To Seek is to Find — Tira Chakima Sedai, Blue ajah, Sat Jan 13 20:46
      • Slow and Steady is the PaceTira Chakima Aes Sedai, Blue ajah, Sat Jan 13 20:57
        Several evenings later, Tira sat at the fire with the Tuatha’an, watching as some of the women began a dance. Even the cold did not stop Tinkers from dancing, and the young ladies whirled around the... more
        • The Path TurnsTira Chakima Aes Sedai, Blue ajah, Thu Feb 1 14:49
          Time went by and it seemed the creator smiled down on this small band of travelers. Tira became a part of the group, sharing in the chores, joys and sorrows of the people. Several weeks into their... more
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