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The Day of Bel Arvina
Sun Oct 15, 2006 10:59
209.213.238.160 (XFF: 192.168.1.3)

OOC: Please don't post above until the festival is over!



The smoky scent of leaves was gravid in the afternoon air, churning with his every step through the high-walled fortress that was the Black Tower. It was a sharp scent, almost and assault thereof, and his nose burned for the cold. It was clear that autumn had descended over Andor–nay, the world–and the flurry of spinning red-and-yellow leaves dancing in great, exaggerated eddies ‘round his feet only reasserted this truth. It was autumn.

And it was Bel Arvina.

Lysander, for once, could not be seen clad in his black uniform. Today was a day of change, of difference, and Lysander had decided to capitalize on this. Asha’man, if not Soldiers and Dedicated, were granted this rare freedom of setting their blacks neatly aside if only for a day, and Lysander chose a maroon velvet coat, embroidered with gold thread at the hems, and matching britches in their stead. Clean, smooth, and unsullied. His pins still found wear at his lapels.

Leading the procession with his head level, Lysander directed the men and women down the beaten path. Leaves crunched as the sonorous reply to his every step. In spite of the obvious chill that normally accompanied autumn, not one of them wore a cloak. Blood and ashes, no. They were Asha’man. They were Soldiers, Dedicated, Privates, Sergeants. Those who had need assumed the Void, and those who could not accomplish such simply kept their mouth shut and chewed their tongue. That was the way of the world. That was the only way to survive: biting back complaints and opinions lest the backhand of an Asha’man was needed to remedy their behaviour.

Onward they marched, straight and collected, as they proceeded toward the Green. Many of the Black Tower clerks had already been put to the task, stringing artificial leafy garlands from bower to bower, arranging tables of punch and areas for dancing. This was one of the few times of the year when idle merriment was condoned, when the recruits could slight thoughts of lessons and training and weapons. This was one of the few times of the year when laughter was encouraged, when frivolity was lauded. He hadn’t understood it then, and perhaps he did not understand it now. Oh, it was necessary to erect lasting bonds with their allies–those of the White Tower, both Aes Sedai and Gaidin–yet . . . it felt so artificial. Chirpy laughter from Asha’man seemed forced.

Well, he could hardly help but be a hypocrite should he lodge a complaint. He had met Arin at a festival. And as the men and women of the Black Tower took their first steps onto the Green, breaking rank and fanning out, Lysander kept his eyes peeled for the gateways. He wanted to see Arin. It was a silly, juvenile request, and Lysander could hardly neglect the fact that he was but eighteen years of age. A M’Hael, but juvenile nonetheless. And he hated himself for succumbing to feelings of affection for the Accepted. The Shadow preserve him. He only wanted to kiss her again.

Amidst the afternoon stillness, he saw them: silver slits through existence, tearing through the fabric of reality as they came into being. Gateways stretched into life, and from them spilled the Aes Sedai, the Gaidin and Gaidar, the Accepted, the Sei’Tar, the novices, and the Aethan’Tar. There were men and women of every measure–channelers and non-channelers, nobility and paupers, Darkfriends and Light-blinded fools. As they flooded the Green, Lysander peered avidly for Arin. Myrth, he knew, was present; the bond conveyed a short distance in his head, and a buoyant glee filled the woman. How had he been forcibly bonded by a woman so foolish? So blindly happy?

“Will you announce the beginning of the festival, sir?” came the oily voice to his side, and Lysander did not need to turn his head to acknowledge Chogan Corvus. The idiot Asha’man was his shadow on good days, and on bad days . . . Lysander never saw his shadow a fraction as much as he saw Chogan.

“No,” Lysander mused, abandoning thoughts of the panderer as he scanned the crowd. Chogan wanted to be Tsorovan’m’hael, and the Shadow preserve him, that would not be the case. Nevertheless, he was facing increasing pressure to appoint a Tsorovan’m’hael. He could trust so few. So few. “Not just yet.”

Chogan smiled fluidly. “Would you prefer someone else take the officialese of your pallet if only for today, M’Hael?”

“No.” And he walked weightily away from the man, for Lysander had found his mark. Clad in a dark blue gown, Arin was conversing with some unfamiliar Accepted. One saw him coming, though Arin was blissfully unaware. He liked watching her, if only from a distance. Watching human actions unperturbed, unaffected by him . . . they were genuine, and Arin was strong. She was a tempered lion. He saw it sometimes. She would kill him if she ever needed to. He liked that. It was painfully silly, but he liked it. “My lady?” Smiling quietly to himself, Lysander outstretched his hand, peering at her stormy grey eyes. Her Amadician eyes. So like his. “Would you have this first dance with me?” And he gestured toward the string philharmonic; at once, they broke into song.

She seemed vaguely surprised at first, but her face was made smooth, and she reached for his hand. Glancing over, Lysander saw the unsmiling stare of one of her male friends, another Accepted. Did he fancy Arin? Not like Lysander did. And so they danced. Their every step padded over leaves and leaves again, and Lysander waltzed with expert discipline. Dance was an action of the body, an extension of all things tangible, and Lysander’s body had been conditioned to precision in his time at the Black Tower. She danced confidently, maintaining the pace he led. And as the philharmonic played out the dying notes of the tune, and as the music fell to silence, and as dancing partners to all sides parted, Lysander clasped Arin’s hand and kissed it gently.

They would not see it for what it was. They would think he had chosen her at random. They would think it was a blind token of politeness to a stranger. Nobody would think that he’d been in her rooms in secret, that he’d kissed the woman in private.

Once all had been said and done, Lysander found himself standing on the raised dais before an oaken podium. Words extended on the wings of saidin, he intoned his benediction. “Good afternoon. I will keep all pleasantries to a minimum and say instead that today is Bel Arvina, and today is the day for inhibitions lost and merriment found. The festival has begun.”



OOC: And that’s it! Everyone from everywhere is welcome to join, and the festival will conclude on Sunday, November 5th. If anyone needs a refresher regarding festival rules, click here!

    • Completion!Mark, Mon Nov 6 13:48
      The festival is over, and the results have been posted on the OOC Board. Feel free to post above! :) /|\Mark
    • The Great Pontificator (Anyone)Adrien-Baptiste Chandonne, Wed Nov 1 09:24
      To be unique. For the longest time, that had been the keenest desire of the man known as Adrien-Baptiste Chandonne, and now that he had achieved it, he found that he did not much care for it. Such... more
    • PreparationsAranisia Sedai, Blue Ajah, Sun Oct 29 21:30
      One more look in the mirror. Grimacing at herself and wondering just when she became so vain, Ara gave the snug-fitting bodice of her dress a carefully measured tug. The blue silk was cut in Andoran... more
    • A Reluctant Novice (anyone!)Novice Khaji Nagora, Sat Oct 21 15:54
      OOC: I thought I'd start here, since I already wrote the post. Then I figure i'll write my entrance to the Tower. I just didnt want to miss it.. course. it does go till nov 12.. heh.. but still..... more
      • StandoffDarius al'Ceer, Sun Oct 22 21:05
        Darius was standing in a corner by himself, in his unadorned black coat that all soldiers were force to wear. All around him people reveled in the beginning of Fall, and the celebration of Bel Arvina ... more
        • A Faint AffairNovice Khaji, Sun Oct 22 22:41
          Khaji felt the hairs on the back of her neck raise. She looked behind her, noticing a man in black watching her. She shook her head, and turned back around. She took a deep breath, and slipped... more
          • Mmm, good drink.Darius al'Ceer, Mon Oct 23 15:50
            Darius was extremely amused when the Novice vanished into the crowd. He looked around, but he couldn’t see anyone besides the occasional flamboyant dancers. Not finding her, he watched the Aes Sedai... more
    • Wisecracking So-and-Sos (Kieran!)Soldier Evie Holinshed, Wed Oct 18 13:07
      Her breath blossomed before her, silvering in a barely-visible plume of autumnal mist. Walking down the path, Evie found little else to amuse her beside the physicality of her own breathing, as she... more
      • Changing AttitudesSoldier Kieran (Karen), Thu Oct 19 09:37
        Another festival had begun again, and Kieran couldn't help his grin. What better was there than an excuse to spend the night drinking, and flirting with some women, be them White Tower or Black Tower ... more
        • A Lively GirlSoldier Evie Holinshed, Sat Oct 21 13:47
          She’d been searching for it. She’d been lusting for it, even. Something as simple, as seemingly commonplace as a basic, decent conversation, and it had been given to her. Or, rather, Evie had found... more
          • Questionable ReactionsSoldier Kieran (Karen), Sun Oct 22 17:46
            Kieran couldn't have been more pleased then when Evie accepted his offer to dance. His night already seemed to be brightening as he placed a hand expertly around her waist. Not that he had ever... more
            • It's Only a Small RequestSoldier Evie Holinshed, Mon Oct 23 14:06
              She could deny it not. Really and truly, Evie enjoyed the mysterious ambiance Karen appeared to emulate into the limitlessness of the evening, cascading an inscrutable aura from the philharmonic to... more
              • A Decline and an OfferSoldier Kieran (Karen), Tue Oct 24 08:27
                The pleasure that resulted from Evie's actions in not only accepting his kiss, but giving as good as she got, as it were, could not be described. He was indeed enjoying himself nearly too much at... more
                • Newton's Third LawSoldier Evie Holinshed, Wed Oct 25 13:55
                  For every action there is an equal, yet opposite, reaction. A dull, leaden silence gravitated over the pair of them as Karen apparently paused to contemplate what words she had spoken Oh, by no means ... more
                  • Not Gonna Get UsSoldier Kieran (Karen), Thu Nov 2 15:07
                    As Kieran listened to Evie as she spoke, he couldn't help but feel a bit of an itch when she pulled out the silver. He remembered his thieving days too much for his own good right now. Kieran unbound ... more
    • Unexpected Companion (Anyone!)Accepted Sonja Meranes, Wed Oct 18 10:47
      Sonja studied her reflection with a critical eye. Sometimes she wondered what it would be like to be pretty—not that she really cared, of course, but—what would it be like? Her long face was tanned... more
      • A different wardrobe.Tsuga Sei'Tar, Fri Oct 20 20:02
        Tsuga was seldom eager for festivals, but today was an exception. Since her sister had found her, festivals had become a welcome chance for reunion. Even if they had nothing in common and began to... more
        • Little ConversationsAccepted Sonja Meranes, Sun Oct 22 09:53
          Sonja had hoped she would be able to shake off her juvenile escort once they’d entered the grounds of the Black Tower, but the kid seemed clamped to her side like a bad habit. To be honest, once she... more
          • A stroke of genius.Tsuga Sei'Tar, Sun Oct 22 14:20
            Tsuga couldn’t believe the kid’s impertinence. “I’m not seven,” she declared indignantly. “I’m nine. And I’ll be ten next month.” The young woman shook her head, curious as to why the Tower would... more
            • What's going on here?Soldier Afailla Dafrin, Sun Oct 22 14:23
              Afailla had spent days helping the rest of the Soldiers and Dedicated ready the grounds for the Festival. They had all had to pitch in – cleaning up, decorating, cleaning, and even cooking. She... more
              • Novice on the Loose!Accepted Sonja Meranes, Tue Oct 24 08:05
                Sonja could have cried from embarrassment. It was bad enough having a bloody nine-year-old clinging to her leg, but to have her spouting off this sort of nonsense in front of perfect strangers was... more
                • Found: NoviceNovice Khaji, Wed Oct 25 14:09
                  Khaji ran a hand over her forehead, eating what was given to her. The Aes SEdai had look none to pleased with her. She sighed. I am never going to make it in this world. She took a deep breath and... more
                  • Excitable Friends?Darius al'Ceer, Wed Oct 25 16:20
                    Darius had wandered up again to Khaji, as noone else showed any reaction when he got near that was positive. Most were outright fear and bigotry, as though they wished the had a pitchfork and torch... more
    • Foliage (Attn: Whoever)Asha'man Locke Lemain, Tue Oct 17 19:54
      Leaves. Leaves were everywhere. Looking through his window, ignoring the pallid, translucent reflection of his own face in the bubbled glass, past it, across the street and into the greens, Locke... more
      • Is Lovely to Dance BeneathTira Chakima Aes Sedai, Blue ajah, Wed Oct 18 11:53
        Tira smiled pleasantly at her reflection in the mirror. It was time for another festival, this one to be held at the Black Tower. She held back a grimace at that; the last time she'd attended a... more
        • When Two Strangers Meet 'Twixt ItAsha'man Locke, Wed Oct 18 12:42
          Locke studied the people's comings and goings with a scholastic flair that made it party enough to whomever saw him looking. Sipping the punch, he idly speculated on this and that, and, with the... more
          • A Name? Oh I have one of those!Tira Chakima Aes Sedai, Blue ajah, Wed Oct 18 14:15
            He introduced himself, and she politely extended her hand, which he took and pressed his lips gently to her knuckle. It was a surprise but Tira's face remained calm and serene. It was nothing more... more
            • The Ghost TourAsha'man Locke Lemain, Tue Oct 24 22:53
              It was a bold thing to say, one stranger to another. A daring one, too, what for Aes Sedai in all their stark serenity and smooth lines, all liquid edges and sanded corners. Her face was plainly... more
    • Cheery Determination (Attn: Anyone!!!)Kiani al'Jaqhar Sedai of the Green Ajah, Tue Oct 17 14:54
      Kiani al’Jaqhar turned away from the tree in the center of one of the Accepted Gardens in the White Tower, her hands lingering on its fading leaves. It was fall, and the tree was preparing for... more
      • Mistaken IdentitySoldier Kandra sur Samarand, Tue Oct 17 19:00
        Kandra scratched the back of his head nonchalantly. He had an itch back there, and it was bothering him. He slipped his free hand into his coat, and felt the cold steel inside. He had bought the... more
        • Masquerading as an AcceptedKiani al'Jaqhar Sedai, Wed Oct 18 04:15
          Kiani heard the voice behind her and she turned nonchalantly towards the voice, thinking it was some kind of joke, that she was mistaken for an Aes Sedai. The man was taller than her but then again... more
          • Being Misled...Soldier Kandra sur Samarand, Sat Oct 21 15:09
            Kandra's mind wandered for a second, until he was jolted out of his trance. “Why are you armed at a Festival, when you need not be afraid of anything?” How had she known? Light! She must have used... more
            • A Close CallKiani al'Jaqhar Sedai, Tue Oct 24 15:19
              Kiani saw his glance go elsewhere, saw his eyes sort of glaze over as he thought of something else. Or someone, she thought sourly. Although she was most happily taken by Ty, it didn’t stop the fact... more
              • Question PeriodSoldier Kandra sur Samarand, Wed Oct 25 16:52
                Kandra watched Kiani smile as he had said he felt more comfortable around her than he would around an Aes Sedai. Well it's true. Hopefully she won't think I'm a coward, I'm just a young man who... more
                • The RevealKiani al'Jaqhar Sedai, Thu Oct 26 13:54
                  Kiani kept glancing sideways at him, wondering how much he had picked up. Light, she thought, If he finds out about my charade, I’m done for! Kiani wasn’t sure exactly where they were headed, but she ... more
                  • Taking it in Good StrideSoldier Kandra sur Samarand, Mon Oct 30 16:25
                    Time seemed to freeze. Kandra stared at Kiani for a long moment. Then the reality of it all cam crashing into him. An Aes Sedai? Light! Here I was thinking she was an Accepted, how could I have... more
    • Oh the Fun...(Attn: Anyone!)Stella Celesta, Novice, Tue Oct 17 13:27
      Stella tugged on the sleeves of her freshly laundered white dress, unconsciously trying to make them a little longer. When she had been fitted for her Novice dresses, the Accepted helping her had... more
      • CollisionSoldier Kandra sur Samarand, Tue Oct 17 17:01
        Kandra pulled his black coat tighter, as he marched in line with the others. He envied the Asha'man and their fancy coats, while he was stuck wearing his uniform. The column of Black Tower initiates... more
        • An Awkward Conversation...If You Could Call It ThatStella Celesta, Novice, Fri Oct 20 11:52
          Stella straightened and eyed the stranger who had bumped into her, slightly aggravated that her angry had been wasted on someone who took it so calmly. His black coat marked him as an initiate of the ... more
    • Celebrations? Pah!!! (ATTN: Anyone)Tain Aethan'Tar, Tue Oct 17 03:14
      Tain straightened, pulling his head out of his chipped washbasin of cold water and staring at himself hard in the cracked mirror that hung above his washstand. He had come to the Tower all of three... more
      • A Place of Light and MirthMedaea Sedai, Blue Ajah, Tue Oct 17 08:05
        Medaea tilted her head one way and the next to ensure that the girl she’d hired for the evening had done her hair properly—with dark sable tresses drawn up and expertly entwined with gold and... more
        • A well deserved escapeTain Aethan'Tar, Wed Oct 18 03:16
          “…. Bonded to Amelia Sedai you know Tain!” Dante paused only for a second, to take a small sip of his wine. Trust me to get saddled with this fool! Tain sighed shaking his head wryly. The boy had... more
          • A Turn About the GroundsMedaea Sedai, Blue Ajah, Thu Oct 19 08:19
            The Aethan’Tar who called himself Tain bowed over her hand with a practiced gesture. It was either something he had learned upon coming to the Tower, or it had been instilled in him since birth.... more
    • A Few Tricks for the Crowd....(Amy!)Dedicated Zander Kilgas, Mon Oct 16 08:46
      Zander's mood was soaring. He had skipped lessons for the day, with no intentions of actually leaving his house before the festival of Bel Arvina began. He had washed and dried his black uniform... more
      • Warder HuntingMenaihya Sedai of the Green Ajah, Wed Oct 18 02:41
        Festivities had never sparked a huge portion of her interest. In fact, there was nothing of ‘interest’ to be said about them at all. What was a festival, but an occasion in which to watch the dances... more
        • An Offer to Join the Festivity...Dedicated Zander Kilgas, Wed Oct 18 15:27
          Zander was enjoying himself immensely as he leaned backwards in his chair, placed titbits of food into his mouth, and watched people dance from side to side within the raging throng that sprawled... more
          • Snappish RefusalMenaihya Sedai, the Warderless Green, Fri Oct 20 19:50
            Curse you, Gaben Ashfair. Her eyes widened just a fraction as the Dedicated—a Dedicated!—assumed the temerity to actually channel in her presence and direct a clever little channel of wine towards... more
            • Apologies are in Order...Dedicated Zander Kilgas, Sat Oct 21 03:27
              Zander waited expectantly, his hand outstretched, his cloak rustling slightly in the wind. He was merely waiting for her to accept, everyone usually did at a festival. He accepted every chance to... more
              • Sallow act at an apology, I say...Menaihya Sedai of the Green Ajah, Sun Oct 22 03:45
                The man was arrogant! First he told her to take a seat, as if it were wholly convivial and proper for Dedicated to traipse around the world these days, telling Aes Sedai they could be seated! No, he... more
                • Trying to Mend Offences...Dedicated Zander Kilgas, Sun Oct 22 06:55
                  Zander had kind of hoped to be stopped mid-stride by Mehaihya Sedai. Whilst she had an evil temper, she intrigued Zander. He had never met a woman who was actually angered by his innocent questions,... more
                  • You remind me of someone.Menaihya Sedai of the Green Ajah, Tue Oct 24 05:31
                    There were no bounds on the rudeness, she saw. Respect ‘grudgingly given’…? Daring to bluntly disagree on what an Aes Sedai said? She, however, thoroughly tired of the entire process by this point,... more
    • Scream for Help (Attn: Anyone!)Kat Tenzin Sei'Tar, Mon Oct 16 07:56
      The Gateway that led them from the White Tower to the Black Tower in one step was manned by a stern looking Aes Sedai, Yellow sash slanted across his wide hips. As Ekaterine Tenzin Sei’Tar stepped... more
      • An unlikely hero.Jeseia Moretia, Mon Oct 16 12:00
        Jeseia smoothed down her white skirts, and stared apprehensively at the ... gateway ... that would grant her access to the Black Tower. A year prior, she had not even known such a place existed. She... more
        • Or is that heroine?Kat Tenzin Sei'Tar, Thu Oct 19 06:54
          The woman who stood over here looked down, the cascade of white-blonde hair creating a curtain before she moved it aside almost impatiently. "My name is Jeseia, not that it matters at this point. He... more
    • Breaking the IceDemetri Sedai, Keeper of the Chornicles, Mon Oct 16 07:04
      “…and from what I can see, it’s another wave of supporters for the White Tower and the Dragon Reborn.” Tabitha Marnon, Sitter for the Blue, said, her voice brisk and businesslike. Demetri rubbed at... more
      • Hiring Some HelpAsha'man Kyran, Spymaster, NPC, Wed Oct 18 09:20
        “I didn’t want anything in particular, Demetri.” He responded with some surprise to her question. “To be honest, I remembered your visits from times past and thought to renew our acquaintance. With... more
        • Deal with the DevilDemetri Sedai, Keeper of the Chornicles, Mon Oct 23 09:16
          There was silence around the table as the Asha’man left, but she felt a disturbing sensation from the bond between herself and Laurian. It was mirrored by her own sense of unease at the fact that the ... more
          • Of Bonds and MarriagesDemetri Sedai, Keeper of the Chornicles, Mon Oct 23 10:10
            Her conversation with Kyran should have been the end of it for her that night, she should have been able to go back to the Festivities, enjoy herself, perhaps try to apologize to her Warders, and... more
            • Hey, JealousyDemetri Sedai, Keeper of the Chornicles, Mon Oct 23 11:37
              The walk through the Black Tower grounds was made with some amount of careful stepping; the moon was beginning to reach zenith as the couple removed themselves from the lamplight of the Festival and... more
              • Skimming the BoundariesDemetri Sedai, Keeper of the Chornicles, Thu Oct 26 06:39
                By the time anyone could react, it was too late. Dai's sword had cut into Kyran's shoulder before any of them could shout or even before the Asha'man could put up any physical defenses. Demetri... more
                • Shady AffairDemetri Sedai, Keeper of the Chornicles, Thu Oct 26 08:20
                  She slipped the ter'angreal over her wrist and looked at her two Warders. "Stop that." She ordered them as their expressions were identical to one another. They were worried. Disappointed. Angry. She ... more
                  • AnticlimacticismDemetri Sedai, Keeper of the Chornicles, Thu Oct 26 10:00
                    The woman laughed and shook her head. "Light, Ronan! To say something like that! I remember a time when you used to look at Aes Sedai with pity!" She looked to Demetri again, sobering. "But, I... more
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