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That is why words mean so little.
Wed Aug 16, 2006 19:00 (XFF:

Tsuga was ready bright and early and standing by the Traveling grounds, waiting for the rest of the class to arrive. The content of the lesson was being kept mostly a secret, but she did know that it wouldn’t be until later that morning. Or rather, later that morning at the Black Tower. There was hardly any telling what time it would be for those leaving the White Tower.

As it turned out, they were a couple of hours early arriving for the lesson, but rather than waste the energy of sending them back and then having them return again, the Asha’man (Asha’men? How did one refer to multiple Asha’man’s?) decided to just let their visitors roam relatively free. Unable to believe her luck, Tsuga ventured off from the rest of the group and began inquiring about where to find a “Soldier Dafrin.” One person she stopped commented, “Oh, the red-head. Yeah, she’s new. They may not have her doing much yet; check the women’s barracks. Over there.” He pointed, and after thanking him, Tsuga set off.

Eventually, she did find her sister, though she actually had to wait a little while. But before long, Afailla did come bustling into the room that Tsuga had found out was hers, and she actually seemed happy at the surprise. Although the Soldier held out her arms for a hug, Tsuga just kind of gave her a weird look and held out a hand. Their handclasp was warm, but far more tolerable for Tsuga than being pinned immobile, even for a few seconds. The two women sat down on the bed, and the Aethan’Tar took a moment to look at her sister.

“You look . . . different. Good, but different.” Afailla grinned, patting the loose bun that held her wild mane of hair. “Yeah, new look, huh?” Tsuga nodded, shifting her weight slightly, and hesitated a moment before speaking again. “How’ve you been? Are they keeping you busy here?” Afailla laughed, holding up her hands, which had never been the soft, pampered hands of a noble, and Tsuga noticed the few cuts and couple of burn-marks. “You could say that. They’re really encouraging about using the Power, here. You can’t eat much unless you can cook it with the Power, and you have to use it for all the chores. I can’t do much yet, but I’m getting there.” Tsuga was nodding along, though she did think the “you can’t eat it unless you can cook it” rule was a little harsh. “So how about yourself? What have you been up to?”

The Aethan’Tar shrugged, glancing down at her own calloused hands. “More of the same. Lessons and chores, and doing everything I can to keep busy. Nothing as exciting as what you’ve been up to, though.” The sisters smiled at each other, and though there was still a feeling of strangeness between them, they were beginning to feel like – if not sisters, at least two women that could offer some measure of friendship to each other. It was a change for Tsuga, this sudden feeling of closeness. She’d never had anyone that she could call a true friend before, and the only person she’d felt close to before this had been her Da. It wasn’t an altogether unwelcome feeling, though it was quite odd. Afailla, however, seemed to take to it as a duck to water, perfectly comfortable forming a friendship with what might as well have been a lump of stone for all the warmth Tsuga offered in return for her sister’s kindness.

“So how about a tour?” Tsuga had quite effectively run out of topics for idle conversation, so she resorted to the only convenient thing left to her that didn’t involve the strengthening of a relationship (things were starting to get a little too touchy-feeling for her). Afailla blinked eyes that were almost identical to her companion’s, looking surprised. “You haven’t been here before?” Tsuga laughed slightly, shaking her head. “No, I have, but it was always for a lesson, or a tournament, or a festival. There wasn’t exactly time to take a leisurely walk-through of all the grounds. You’ve been here long enough to keep from getting us too lost, right?” Afailla laughed, more than a little nervously (she had gotten lost on her way back to the barracks just minutes ago), but she still stood and gestured grandly for the door. “After you, m’lady.” The Aethan’Tar grimaced and made a face, but she did stand and precede the redhead from the small room.

  • But ink fades with time.Tsuga Aethan'Tar & Soldier Afailla, Wed Aug 16 18:59
    Dear Tsuga, I apologize if my previous letter offended you. I didn’t mean to upset you so much, but I was rather put off by your delayed response. I appreciate your telling me so much about yourself, ... more
    • That is why words mean so little. — Tsuga Aethan'Tar & Soldier Afailla, Wed Aug 16 19:00
      • For blood creates the strongest ties of all.Tsuga Aethan'Tar & Soldier Afailla, Wed Aug 16 19:01
        “And this is the mess, and of course you know what that is for.” Tsuga rolled her eyes. She’d had no idea, asking for the tour, that Afailla would take her role so seriously. She seemed to have taken ... more
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