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Sallow act at an apology, I say...
Sun Oct 22, 2006 03:45 (XFF:

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 didn’t even tell her; he kind of waved his hand in that insolent manner of his, as if she were some common barwench! Her half-Healed wound itched, and her cool fingertips lingered over it irritably. Did I ask for a Healing? Did I? And an incomplete one, too! The man was currently rattling off some prolonged narrative about his life events—which actually would have, in normal circumstances, stirred what little compassion she possessed—, but Menaihya only partially heard what the words entailed. She was more galled by his calling her a—what was it? ‘Lone wolfette’? Not affronted by any means, considering the insult was sallow if it had been meant to be one, but she was definitely annoyed. However, she did take a seat, not because the Dedicated had ‘allowed’ her to, but because she was tiring of all this and wished to push a few strong words of admonition towards the wayward initiate and be done with the business.

Her face grew very cool when he all but shushed her with that waving of his arm again, but she decided to hold her peace and listen to what this Dedicated would follow up on such an act of blatant disrespect. “And do you know how hard it is to train here as opposed to the White Tower? At your Tower, they are all coddled, taught slowly but surely, never pushed in case they overextend themselves and you lose another initiate,” the man named Zander Kilgas said, and her expression was flat and cold. I have a few choice words to say about that. She had half a mind to seriously request to M’Hael Lysander to wrench this Zander Kilgas away to the White Tower to have ‘under her instruction’ as an Accepted for a few weeks. Even as a novice, which would definitely grant him a more significant lesson. He would see whether he was ‘coddled’ and ‘never pushed’, then. “Here they push us mercilessly. I have known ten men who have burned themselves out, died or ran away to be hunted like a dog.” If only that M’Hael would agree to such an impossible proposition; but the Black Tower, and specifically its regent, would never accede to anything that would—even temporarily—bereave itself of one of its precious soldiers.

“This place makes or breaks people. Every single day, my Lady of the Green, I have to get up a good two hours before sunrise so that I can go for a morning run and get some weapons exercises done before breakfast and my teaching is required. I teach all day, then I get taught, then I sleep, but only when it’s full night to early morning. Do you have any idea what it feels like to be trained as the Soldiers?” As a matter of fact, Menaihya did, and not only because she was a Green sister and thus was incorporated into what was, in essence, the only Aes Sedai ‘army’ in the world. Not only. She probably had a better grasp of knowledge on the Black Tower than even this Dedicated did. I was studying the Black Tower as an Aes Sedai decades before you even enrolled as a ‘Soldier’, boy. “As the ones who will be on the front line at the Last Battle? I look around and wonder how many of my friends will be cut down by the Shadow before people like you will even arrive on the battlegrounds.” Oh, Creator in heaven.

However, using the fact that she had studied both Towers—something this Dedicated obviously had not—, she could logically agree to the fact that the Black Tower did have a more ‘rigorous’ curriculum than the White Tower did. Nevertheless, this hardly merited the suggestion that it was harder there than here (or, geographically speaking, here than there). To make such a statement was unjust beyond reason. True, the perils one encountered at the Black Tower were of far heavier gravity, but did that make studying and succeeding in the White Tower any less difficult? The concept of comparison itself was wrong. It was irrational. One could not compare the two, because they held nothing of remote similarity other than the fact that they were institutions for channelers. Their goals of existence in themselves were as different from each other as the sun and the moon! As saidin and saidar!

“But you’re right,” the Dedicated said next, suddenly voicing the fact that he agreed with her, “You do have it the hardest out of we two, and so I apologize for any rudeness that I showed you once more, and I will take my leave, never to trouble you again.” But we are not done, young man. You only asked to be corrected in your incorrect suppositions, and therefore you will receive a lengthy lecture shoving you in the right. That which you have asked for! She stood from her chair, her sights on the back of the fast-departing Dedicated, and in the motion something dribbled off her lap with a substantial lessening of weight, and a glance towards the ground told her that the rolling round object was an apple. Flicking her gaze towards the Dedicated—who was now weaving himself through the crowds—with a shrewd, considering look, she channeled flows of Air to latch onto the fruit and send it flying towards her hand, and catching it, she began to follow the black-garbed form of Zander Kilgas. With his conspicuous cloak of rustling leaves, he was not very easy to lose in the throng.

My head is spinning. Why is my head spinning? I have never met anyone who is as able in provoking me, other than Tyaoris a’Kador. Her silk skirts rustled as she glided through the groups of merrymakers, and initiates parted in carving a way for an Aes Sedai. Particularly an Aes Sedai whose face spoke of her determination to snap ice. With her teeth. Perhaps tonight is just a provocative night. She followed Zander Kilgas as he traversed to another refreshment table, loitered near the trays of kidney pies, and conversed—and dared she say: flirted—with a handful of dimple-cheeked girls, all while bouncing his apple, the twin to the one she herself held at present, in his hand. She followed him with narrowed-eyes and her natural Aiel stealth as perhaps a quarter of an hour later the man finally tired of his previous activities, and approached a somewhat secluded spot near the stacks of ale-barrels. He was staring off to her right at some undistinguished point in the festivities—looking for her, perhaps?—as he lifted his apple and finally punctured the shiny red skin in taking a bite. Ensconced and disguised in the crowds before him, Menaihya pursed her lips. Strength in the One Power cannot contend against decades and decades’ worth of knowledge in it.

Zander Kilgas lifted the apple to his mouth for a second bite, when she embraced saidar and whipped out a weave that settled onto the apple and contracted without a trace. The Dedicated might have felt the second-flash of goosebumps against his skin, though that was impossible considering there were multitudes of female channelers in the near vicinity, but it was too late anyway; he took the bite, and hardly got the chance to chew before he spluttered and spat out his mouthful of what was, without a doubt, something very dehydrated and very acrid with rot. He spat for nearly half a minute, wiped his mouth on the back of his hand, and whipped his gaze towards the apple, which had turned a ghastly hue, after which he wrenched his eyes free and plunged his sights into the crowd. In that moment his and Menaihya’s gazes met, and he knew it had been her.

She approached him, her carriage porting everything of Aes Sedai serenity and regality, and upon reaching him she took his wrist in her strong grasp, turned his palm facing upward, and slapped the apple she had been holding upon it. The man lifted his gaze to her face and regarded her dry smile. “Sometimes it is remarkably hard to gain the attention of wayward Dedicated,” she said, and then launched off on her ‘lecture’. “You did not give me a chance to respond to your fallacious tirade, young man. Do not speak to me of the Last Battle as if you know more of it, or have more rights to ‘stand in the front line’ than I do. Apparently, you have such minimal knowledge of the Green Ajah, or the White Tower in general, that it makes me wince. And the only reason that I am holding onto your wrist is because I do not want you to run away until you have heard what I have to say, and not because of your pretty face, so do not harbor presumptions.”

She continued without pause. “First of all, it will do you much good to abandon all ideas of the White Tower being a coddling institute for soft-bellied sops before the supposition lands you in a muck of haughty, egoistic ideas and trouble you cannot wade yourself out of. Unless, of course, it was your intent to insult me, which, for your own good, I have decided not to consider it as. Secondly, your claims of an overworked soldier life receive my share of sympathy, but you must remember—” For some odd reason, her previously hard tone softened a fraction at this point, as if she were being uncharacteristic and really feeling sympathetic towards this man. Of course, if the First Oath allowed her… But why? So the man’s family died, and he led a hard military life. Who here didn’t have a tale half as tragic? She shouldn’t feel any sympathy whatsoever for this man, as she had never for any man or initiate, but for some reason…

His flippancy spoke of a not-yet entirely healed layer beneath.

Let us all be symbolic now. Kind of like my palm. “—that you are the one who chose this life. Your life. You are the one who made the decision to enroll in the Black Tower, and you must have known what sacrifices it would exact from both your health and your endurance. If you had not, then you should have found out and made adequate research beforehand. There is nothing to be gained by spilling water and whining about it afterwards.”

“Who said I was whining?” the Dedicated argued in his light, bantering tone, and somehow, without her being completely aware of it, it didn’t fall so irritably on her ears this time.

“Whatever it was, it was very close to whining, and you cannot deny it.” Since when had their tones suddenly been transformed to something akin to normal? As in, when two people talked to each other normally? There were many things she did not understand this night. “You cannot compare the White Tower and the Black Tower in the sense of which is hard and which is easy. You focus on battles, and battles only. We focus on that as well—yes, we do, and you should do well to remember that—but that is only one division of many. While you are out there blasting rocks and commanding troops and assassinating folk—all military-oriented things—, we take the time to learn and manipulate politics, international relations, arts, literary knowledge, worldly knowledge, culture, even things you may consider as trivial as falconry and gardening, and the list goes on without bound. Our scope of learning is huge, but our focus is different from yours, too. You have no idea how ‘difficult’ it is to dwell in the White Tower with hopes of success, and the endurance it takes to last through the years the ranks require.” She concluded with a grave, “Do not undermine the White Tower.”

OOC: This would be the point where the pink bunny hops into the scene, and… O wait. That would be the Energizer commercial. You should, um… Ask Mena for a swim at the lake. That would tip her off all over again. *tempts*

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