Accepted Celeste
Tea-party setting
Mon Oct 2, 2006 02:30 (XFF:

Breath misted in the cool air as Celeste kept close to Kat. She paid little heed to the SeiíTar now, concentrating instead on the location of the next gate. Like the first, it was marked in the nothingness by a beacon of saidar that called to the Accepted as a magnet called to a compass needle. She felt the quiet pulse of the gate, steady and welcoming.

In front of her, the SeiíTar led. Celeste felt the intensity through the bond, the concentration of the other girl as she focused on the path ahead. Scanning the path, keeping watch overhead and below, taking note of any warning sounds or sudden movement. The impressions flowed across their link, feeding the Accepted with information.

Annoyance flared again momentarily before Celeste suppressed the emotion. Kat was right. She did not trust the SeiíTar as much as she should. There had been hard lessons, growing up away from home and learning to fend for herself, lessons not easily forgotten. The ebon haired girl might be SeiíTar but it meant little to the Accepted. Skill alone did not buy trust. Still, Celeste knew her place. Even if she disliked it, the Kat ought to lead.

Keeping her focus on the back trail, she nibbled at her lip as mentally, she studied the bond. It was a strange, hazy shape in corner of her mind, guaranteed, according to the Sisters, to function just like the real thing. Sensations came to her, resonating inside her mind. The sensations were weird. Not uncomfortable, just weird. It seemed she felt a good part of what Kat was feeling, the wariness coming through stronger than anything else. Celeste prodded at the cloud, wondering how much she could project over into the SeiíTarís mind. Could she actively induce something in the other girlís mind? Rubbing strands of hair between her fingers, the Accepted wondered idly what it would feel like through the bond if Kat went into bloodlust frenzy.

Panic boomed in her head as a loud Ďclickí sounded. Celeste saw the SeiíTar throw herself into a roll, felling more than hearing the grunt at the impact of hard ground on Katís ribs. Her chest stung slightly before the sensation faded. Pressure trap. Celeste smiled inwardly at old memories, backtracking slightly and sending flows of Earth and Air across the ground around them. It seemed that there was only one trap. She barely heard the SeiíTar as Kat bade her stop, though she did indulge the other girl.

A large log swung back and forth across the path, its sheer size and the angle of its arc threatening to deal bodily injury to anyone who tried to go around it without first deactivating the mechanism. Around her, the SeiíTar manually checked the ground. Celeste wanted to sigh but controlled the urge. It seemed that she was not the only one who had to learn to trust. The truth was that neither of them was used to working with the other, despite the fact that Aes Sedai and Gaidin were ostensibly a team organism. Perhaps this was the reason behind the lesson, teaching them to co-exist.

The SeiíTar returned to her feet and studied the log mechanism. A frown creased the skin on her forehead as Kat pondered. Again, Celeste felt echoes of frustration through the bond. Not outright anger, just impatience and slight impotence. The Accepted studied the log. There were a thousand ways she could bypass this, from the outright flashy to the ordinarily mundane. The temptation to do something while the SeiíTar wasted her time pondering was a sirenís call. She was not a passenger on this trip.

Still, she deferred and waited. Kat would probably hate her for doing anything and Celeste had little wish to feel a grumpy lump in her head for the rest of the exercise. It took the SeiíTar long enough to come to the conclusion but eventually, she did realize that the most efficient way was to simply have Celeste cut the mechanism using the Power rather than agonize over how to get it done with a sword.

Once past the log, they moved on warily. Celeste tested the path for more traps even as the SeiíTar continued to search manually. As the road began to fork, Celeste used the Power increasingly, feeling the way toward the gate. At each fork, she mentally prodded the SeiíTar with the correct direction in what she hoped was a subtle manner. This test was here for a reason. With neither tracks nor indicators, she held their only reliable indication of direction. Kat took the paths without discernable protest, mentally or otherwise.

Finally, out of the fog, a face of stone loomed. A narrow corridor just wide enough for them to pass through in single file beckoned, opening up at the end into a triangular space with the steel-strapped gates set into the granite at the end. Glowing on its surface, as with the previous door, was a warding glyph. Compared to the previous ward, this was a whole different kettle of fish. Sitting snug and compact on the portal, it was a work of art where the previous had been a childís doodle. Each skein was neatly wrapped and tied off into the internals of the ward, protected from unravelling or the ministration of sheer force. Celeste sighed. This would take time. Kneeling on the ground in front of the door, she concentrated, ignoring the feeling oh immense claustrophobia. Kat took up position at the mouth of the corridor. Right on cue, growls sounded from the other end of the narrow passage.

The scent of blood hung heavy in the air as sweat poured down the Acceptedís brow. The upper half of her dress was already soaked through as she made slow headway through the ward. The blasted contraption had Illusion woven into it, making it nearly impossible to determine which thread in the entire complicated mess actually existed. Twice, she had nearly pulled the wrong thread, deceptive as the entire set-up was. Ten minutes seemed like a lifetime.

Emotions hammered in her mind. Fatigue, pain, bloodlust, desperation. Growling, the Accepted turned her gaze from the ward momentarily, keeping only her Spirit ďpickĒ embedded within the structure. Opening her mind totally to the bond, the Accepted felt the intensity of Katís emotions come flooding in. A mental push bade the SeiíTar to move aside as Air laced with Water surged down the corridor in a tight interlaced weave, tearing through flesh with all the fury Celeste felt through the bond. The tone of the growls altered instantly. Fire might be her weakest element but there were other ways of killing trollocs and fades. Personally, implosion was her favoured method.

Celeste drove the weave as far down the corridor as she could before cutting it off, panting. Globs of meat clung to the stone walls of the corridor, the ground slick with blood as she turned back to the ward. In the distance, the growls started up again. Kat probably had about two to three minutes. The skein of Spirit continued through the ward.

Celeste shivered as the wind cooled her sweat drenched dress. Behind them, the light from the previous portal slowly faded, leaving SeiíTar and Accepted in perfect darkness. They took a couple of breaths, just staying still and trying to recover. Fatigue came through the bond, along with pain. Without conscious thought, the pale blue witchlight coalesced into existence, floating unbidden above Celeste as she ran a quick healing weave across the SeiíTar. Trollocs were not kind, even ones that were illusion.

It did not take long to figure out where they were. Or rather, what they were in. High hedges sat on either side with an opening between the walls of green the only exit. ďIts only a guess, Kat, but it seems like weíre in someoneís garden maze.Ē A sensation of mild amusement was the only response as Celeste spun another light for Kat, this one floating around the SeiíTar and glowing a pale white. The soggy ground squelched as both girls took a first step together. Celeste looked at Kat and shrugged as the SeiíTar grinned, leading the way toward the first opening.

  • Tempering hot emotionsKat Tenzin Sei'Tar, Tue Sep 26 08:36
    There was nothing that Kat could see or feel the woman doing, but then again, her entire focus was also on the twining vines that threatened to wrap her and the Accepted up in their grip. Her blades... more
    • Tea-party setting — Accepted Celeste, Mon Oct 2 02:30
      • Sooty Trip WiresKat Tenzin Sei'Tar, Wed Oct 4 09:50
        Somewhere amid the faux battles that she'd been fighting and the things that Celeste had been doing to disable the channel-wrought locks, they began to fall into an easy companionship with one... more
        • Icy obstacleAccepted Celeste Illharess, Tue Oct 24 09:06
          Wan light reflected off the mirrored edges, glinting faintly in the false dawn. Celeste squinted at the crystalline structure. The massive, edged contraption sat right where Saidar insisted the gate... more
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