Food, Fire....and a Ball?!
Wed Oct 4, 2006 03:21 (XFF:

Righting himself, while regulating his breathing, Ardan once again began to take in the setting around him. The cold marble floors beneath the pair were polished and grand, and Ardan soon began to see that it paled in comparison to the grandeur of the rest of the place. The walls were a magnificent, striking blood red, precisely punctuated by landscape paintings depicting grand battles, victories over the past of armies whose colours were unknown to Ardan. Every now and then there hung a portrait of men and women, none of whom Ardan could recognise, but that was nothing out of the ordinary. He had grown up in Mayene and lived there for all of his life, so that much was to be expected. The ceiling glittered strange mosaics, in all different colours.

‘You could probably fit a city inn in this hall, it’s so….big!’

And the sentiment was mirrored in the eyes of Novice Adem as he looked across to his partner. There were three doors, one on each wall save for the one behind them, which must have been where the now closed gateway would have been before it slammed shut after them. In the middle of the room was a large dining table, which covered half the length of the room. It was lined with all sorts of fine foods. Roasted chicken on a bed of fresh salad, waiting for the carving, sweet potatoes, a large jug of gravy, and an assortion of other meats and poultry that Ardan was unsure he could ascertain what they each were without the tasting. His stomach rumbled like thunder at the sight of such food, but he stopped it in its tracks. Now was not the time to be thinking about food. Beyond the dining table was what could only be described as some of the finest furniture he had ever seen, and some of the nobles in Mayene had had some pretty elaborately designed furniture; and a hearth beyond that was so large that it could almost be mistaken for a doorway. A long-backed Divan was the centrepiece of the set, with padded cushions for three people to take seat or for the Lord or Lady to lounge on, where there would be masterful woodwork, there was shaped gold, inlaid with strands of silver that meshed with each other, like thin tendrils of mist. Rubies, Amethyst, gems and diamonds of all kinds were encrusted in the divan. Looking away was all Ardan could do to stop his jaw from dropping at the sight.

“So, which door do we choose?” Ardan said to his companion, who was still taking in the finer details of the room. Details were all well and good, but Ardan had returned his attention to the constant vigil of the room, making sure that there were no traps or the like that sprung out of nowhere. Aes Sedai could imbue things with tricks, so that a simple touch, an opening of a box, and you would be dead before you knew what hit you. They wouldn’t do anything of the sort in this exercise, but there’s nothing to say they wouldn’t imbue, a platter of food say, with a trick to mark the one that carved into it, thus failing their mission. They had to stay focused, concentrated and determined. Novice Adem was seemingly lost in thought, and Ardan had to bark out the question once more before he had the Novice’s attention.

“The doorframes, they are gilded different ways” the novice said thoughtfully, almost as though he were saying it to himself. The first doorframe, the one on their left as they entered the room, and closest to the furniture sets and the hearth, was gilded in gold and silver, the silvery lines meshing with one and other, just the same kind of pattern as was on the divan that he had been staring at moments before. There had to be some connection there. Ardan could solve some puzzles fairly easily, others not so, but in any event, he processed the information and moved on to the next. The second doorway was encrusted with jewels of all different shapes and cuts, but all were blood red. The same colour as the walls. They glimmered and enticed, tempting you to go and take one, but now was not a time to succumb to temptation. The third door, to the right as they entered, was covered in runes and minute drawings which he could not make out from this distance. It was etched and carved with grandiose though, so it did not seem out of place with the rest of the room, but a closer inspection and it reminded Ardan of the Trolloc drawings he managed to observe before they made it through the gateway. Maybe a way back, he thought with a shiver. He definitely didn’t want to step back into that, which was for sure.

“The first door then” Ardan said, making up his mind. He stepped over towards the door, wanting to be the first to venture through it, for the protection and safety of the ‘Aes Sedai’ that he was Warding from danger. As he opened the door with force, preparing himself for anything to leap through at him, for whatever horrors awaited them; he was taken slightly off guard as the sound of music filtered through the hallway, soft and elegant, but with a steady pace. Before them, as the world beyond the door opened up to them, was a Grand Ball, the likes Ardan had never even dreamed of seeing, nor thought possible…

  • Here we goArdan Aethan'Tar, Tue Oct 3 07:35
    Before Novice Adem had the chance to reply to Ardan, it was their time to be sent off. Slowly the pair made their way to the front of the room, not a word having been exchanged between them aside... more
    • Food, Fire....and a Ball?! — Ardan Aethan'Tar, Wed Oct 4 03:21
      • Cinderella?! We SHALL go to the ball!Ardan Aethan'Tar, Thu Oct 5 06:43
        Ardan stood stock still before Novice Adem, trying his hardest to overcome his incredulity at the scene that was unfolding before him and to hide it behind an unreadable mask, such as the kind that... more
        • Monster's BallArdan Aethan'Tar, Thu Oct 5 06:45
          imprint of personality. Then he noticed that all the noblemen sported short cropped brown hair, and all of the noblewomen blonde hair. At first glance, it might seem coincidence, but now that Ardan... more
          • Completed...Ardan Aethan'Tar, Wed Oct 18 09:30
            Well, I guess I'll take the credit here :) I know it's not finished, but in some of Ardans later posts you'll find out more about the last two tests and how they were completed if that's alright :D... more
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