An unlikely hero.
Mon Oct 16, 2006 12:00 (XFF:

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 had heard about the fearsome black coated men who had brought the sky down on the Seanchan, yes, but she had not known they had their own tower of all things! And now she, Jeseia Moretia, once a damane, would be going there- to celebrate a festival. Unlike the other novices who clustered about the yard, she had never been to a festival before, and felt no desire to engage in the activities they seemed to be planning; the very idea of allowing a man to touch her made her ill, and the idea of a male channeler getting that close made her stomach flip. So what can I do, then? she thought, and mulled over that idea as she and the other novices moved through the gateway.

The brief transition from Tar Valon to the Black Tower barely took a second, but the difference took her breath away. She dared not spend too much time looking around however; again taken by the overwhelming vertigo that threatened to defeat her whenever she went out of sight of the Tower, she found herself gulping down terror as she searched for something -anything- to lean against. A wall offered itself within just a few minutes, and she pressed against it, clinging to the rough brick as if her life depended on it. I am free, and I cannot enjoy that freedom, she thought bitterly, as she gulped desperately for air and to regain her repose. I should not feel naked! It has been long enough, hasn't it? Obviously it had not, but she denied it vigorously as she turned to stare at the crowds of people that populated the area. They all wore smiles, all laughed gayly, danced with partners, ate from small plates, listened to the music that must have been amplified by the Power, though she could not see the weaves. The realization that that meant saidin had done it made her stomach twist again; she hastily stopped focusing on that particular aspect of the festival, and instead tried to seek out a place a bit more private than where she stood.

She saw a comparatively empty corner, but before she could move in that direction, the two novices that shared the room directly to the left of her own appeared out of nowhere, grabbed her arms, and dragged her into the crowd. She heard them talking about dunking her in the pond, but that was all; the further they pulled her through the crowd, the more terrified she became, until finally she stopped short and shook them off, glaring at them with all the ferocity she could muster from her tiny body. "Leave me alone!" she said sharply. They gaped at her in consternation, and she took advantage of their confusion to slip away, keep her eyes focused on the ground and nothing else until she had made it back to a wall. She realized that the wall that had protected her before lay some ways away and she actually stood considerably closer to her goal. She set off in that direction, deliberately ignoring the calls for a dance and the teasing taunts about her size. Let them call her names- she did not want to know what else would happen if she tried to mingle in that crowd.

The corner's shadow embraced her, and she stood, enjoying the few minutes of privacy she knew would be interrupted all too soon. After a bit when no one joined her, she looked towards the crowded dance floor, taking in the sights. A man and a woman in black danced together, a graceful dip and swirl that seemed to transcend time. Three women with fringed shawls -one brown, two yellow- discussed something, obviously doing their best to both speak quietly and disguise the motion of their lips. Whatever those Aes Sedai were talking about, they did not want to be eavesdropped upon, but did not dare actually raise a...ward, was it called? Some distance away she saw Sinead, who seemed nearly at ease as she herself felt. She nearly joined the Aes Sedai, but she saw a man appear out of the crowd and bow to the Aielwoman even as she took a step forward. Aes Sedai wouldn't appreciate the company of a novice anyway, she thought unhappily. The person she really wanted to see hadn't arrived yet, or else remained further away than she could see.

So she turned her eyes elsewhere once more, rummaging through the sights and sounds, and tucking them away for later perusal. As she did so however, she noticed that despite the gay atmosphere, some things were not right. An Accepted -recognized only by her face, since she wore a wine-red dress that revealed more than it hid- argued quietly with a man wearing plain brown. A hand flashed, and Jesi's eyes were drawn to where a novice had just slapped a man dressed in velvet. So not every novice is obsessed with finding a man, it seems, she thought in an amused tone. A couple dancing near the edge of the crowd drew her eye next. A slender woman in blue leaned against a man in Asha'man black. She seemed to be enjoying it, her face arranged in such a rapturous expression that Jesi's cheeks began to glow. Even as she watched though, she saw the man murmur something, and the woman first nod, and then look confused, the slight fumbling of her feet as the man in black pushed her backwards lost to everyone but the intent eyes of the lonely novice.

Something is wrong, Jeseia thought coldly, her fear forgotten as she watched the man pushing the woman away from the crowd. She couldn't see the Power, but that meant nothing in this place; over the course of her time as a novice she had learned that women could not see the male half of the Power. Quietly, she followed the pair as the man guided the woman away, between two buildings, to stop in the shadows there. Jeseia remained out of sight, listening but careful to keep her presence hidden. She didn't know what to do- she might have been imagining that hesitation, the woman might actually want the man to do...whatever it was men and women did in private. But what if she didn't? Jesi chewed on her fingernails and waited, her mind at war- one part of her mind reminded her that only pain came from messing in others' business. Another part screamed the proof that that could not be the case- if Sinead Sedai had minded her business, she would still be collared.

Abruptly she heard a man yell from around the corner; a cry of pain and rage. Jeseia instinctively straightened, pressing herself hard against the stone wall of the building as the woman in blue ran around the opposite corner, only to hit somethign invisible and fall. Even as Jesi watched in silence, the man in black came around the corner as well, rubbing his shoulder and muttering, to stand over his fallen companion. Even as he bent down to lift her, the soft light filtering from the main festival area illuminated his face enough to answer all questions Jesi might have had- rage wreathed this man's face, and she knew that he intended to make his captive pay for whatever she had done to him.

He lifted her, and Jeseia channeled, Fire and Air lashing out to catch the man's wrists in painful ropes, wrenching them behind his back. Shock made him hesitate, and that was all Jeseia needed; another weave of air, and she had thrown him against the wall. She tied the flows off as Sinead had taught her, and then wove another flow of Spirit, a shield against the Power that she had learned to make decades before. She slammed it into place without a moment of hesitation. She could see shock surface for a moment in the pale light, but then pure rage came back, and she could feel him pushing against her shield. "Get up," she said quietly to the woman on the ground. She moved forward to stand over her, a tiny, slender figure in a white dress; as she leaned forward to offer her a hand up, her waist-length hair fell forward in a shower of white-blond curls that she impatiently pushed away from her face. "My name is Jeseia, not that it matters at this point. He," she jerked a thumb at the violently struggling man, "is too strong for me and I will not be able to hold him for long." She prayed that he had not used the Power to tie this woman down; she knew there were ways to leave flows in place even when shielded, and she did not have the time or the strength to pick them apart if he had, before he broke loose.

Jeseia is a former damane, and is about a century and a half old. She's masquerading as a "normal" novice to the public because she already gets teased enough.

Take the thread wherever you will, I'm open for whatever you want to do. :)

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    • An unlikely hero. — Jeseia Moretia, Mon Oct 16 12:00
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