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Sepia
Fri Dec 1, 2006 04:32
59.6.28.157 (XFF: 172.20.24.56)

There was naught but ashes in the gray hearth. However, the unmoving air that lay within the walls’ confines was a reprieve from the cutting chill of what lay outside them, and although the latter never bothered him, he was still fleetingly grateful—if for the de-burdening of his palm threatening to freeze to the perspiration that beaded the outside of his half-filled mug. The drink itself had long since developed into something he’d rather not consume at the present, that which had once been steaming cider, and, might he add, something actually rather good. However, it was his fault. Laras had ladled for him a generous cupful, but instead of drinking it then and there, or even returning to his barrack room, he had been faced with business along the way that demanded his attention.

So he had dawdled along the way, seeing to instructions at the yards, at the weaponry, counseling an Aethan’Tar on the portico of the Mess Hall—and so on and so forth. And now that he was actually here, lodged between several comfortable cushions that just endorsed him to drift to those undemanding lands of sleep, he felt it a bother to frequent the kitchens all over again. The ashes were cold, the lighting pale and natural and sifting in from the tall frames of the windows, and the smell was an intricate mingle of very muted cinnamon (or some herb of the sort; it was true he was chummy with Saleka Sedai of the Yellow, but Light only knew that that did not make him a Wise Woman), parchment, and something…of a natural element. It was the only way to describe it.

It was a familiar setting, and yet again, not. In a sense, everything seemed entirely foreign, but considering he had not entered these particular premises in perhaps a year or more, this had to be the case.

His hulky leather coat was draped over the far side of the couch, as he had shed it previously in preference of being in his shirtsleeves, and this was how he was clad and found at present, boots tucked on the floor somewhere, body ensconced laterally across the length of the seat, and feet swung over the edge. A band of cloth was wrapped around his forehead, as it habitually was, and his plateau of dark hair pressed against the arm that currently pillowed his head.

A while might it have been, but he still felt an inexplicable ease and peace of mind here. It was not so much the physical comfort, of the cushions and whatnot, but he felt….comfortable.

A lethargic, empty smile played across his face, and he yawned, letting his mouth gape wide and his jaw stretch to its limits. He allowed his eyes to sidle shut, but after a long moment he opened them once more, transferring his gaze to regard Menaihya standing at the window. Her silhouette was slender, dark against the pallid rectangle of light. He slowly shifted his head, cocking his face to the side, but even so the direction where he lay from her was so that he could not sight her face save for a sliver of skin next to the temple. However, although he could not perceive her visage, her very stance was that of poise and quiet dignity and admirable strength and charisma, and… She was Aes Sedai.

“You don’t mind if I sleep, do you?” he spoke, breaking the silence. He yawned again. “These cushions.”

She did not answer. He peered at her back, and then gazed past her at the window fitted on its casements. Her light breath had created somewhat of a misty blotch on the glass before her, but beyond that, beyond the obscure lighting, he could see what kept her so mesmerized. Though he only said that because he’d like to think she wasn’t ignoring him. Flakes of white snow swept down in falls and flurries, continuous in its stream, undwindling in its store. Tyaoris gave a grunt of surprise and sprung out of his languid posture, assuming his feet with spry ease that came with a seasoned warrior and stepping up next to the Aes Sedai.

“It’s snowing,” he remarked, blue eyes raking the panorama that could be seen from this high in the spire of the White Tower. All looked miniature, from the buildings and houses in town to the trees that dotted the gardens and various grounds. The trees, of course, had shed their multihued, multi-shaped leaves some time ago, and although their sights should have looked skeletal (and at times of the day they did), at the present it was a rather picturesque view. Rare that he would make such a judgment. The falling flakes of snow melted before touching ground, but soon they would create small mounds on the branches, the ground, and on the banks of the Erinin. Winter couldn’t be said to be his favorite season, not that he had any. Winter caused too many complications and delays and hampering. Winter prevented normal measures of lessons for the trainees on the yards—not that the White Tower was lenient in its giving of freedays for the sake of weather; but it was always a good thing to keep the trainees alive to an extent—, as well as force cancellations for business trips and exploits and the like. It was a good thing the Borderlands trip hadn’t been cancelled, nor was it bound to be at any mere excuse’s expense.

“It’s snowing,” he repeated, and flicked his gaze at Menaihya when she still did not answer. There had once been a time, he thought, when he had been able to sense some sort of emotion drift across that tanned face of hers. That had been back, way back in time, when they had both been of inferior ranks yet. However, now he sensed the doors to her emotions were forever shut. There was absolutely nothing to be said of an interpretation of her expression. Not even a speculation. He turned and leaned back against the glass and crossed his arms over his large chest. The cold seeped through the thin material of his shirt and pressed against his back. Peering at her, his lips tilted in a grin. “Earth to Menaihya? Is the snow that captivating?”

She slowly transferred her gaze to his, and her look gained a deprecating edge before she swiftly turned and began walking away. “It is beautiful,” said she as she moved towards his own starting point, the couch. “It is beautiful, and it is fearsome. But why should I speak to a man who is only making fun of me?”

“I am not,” he barked out a laugh, genuinely surprised. “Your pride. By the thrice-damned Panarch in Tarabon, I’ll never be able to reach your pride. You think I stick a fish at you when I’m not, and when I really am, you laugh in that insufferable Aiel way.” A cushion hurled towards him, thudded against his chest, and he caught it in his hands. He couldn’t tell whether it had been the One Power or whether she had thrown it herself. He might have betted his boot on the latter. “Swap your pride for flirting?”

That elicited a tart, “Oh, shut up,” and he grinned at her.

“Menai,” he started, “May I call you Menai? I like it! It sounds so….Menai.

She stared at him with sharp wryness. “Will you ever grow up, Tyaoris?”

“Oh, but Aes Sedai,” he said, tossing the cushion from one hand to the other, “I have! Oh, Menaihya, Menaihya…” He walked forward in his sprawl-legged gait until he stood before her. “You know what’s decidedly weird? I haven’t talked to you this properly in nearly a year, right?” He missed the narrowing of her eyes. “And yet…I feel like we haven’t truly missed out on anything. I mean…” He clasped the cushion in his hands, and his expression became serious as he studied her. “I feel as if we haven’t spent all that time apart. I feel so comfortable around you. Is that… Is that wrong?”

He couldn’t read her silent gaze, but after a long second she tossed her head and looked away as if searching her manteltop for something. A second later she flicked her gaze up at him once again, and her lips curved in a smirking smile. “Such childish questions you ask,” she said, “We are not young joggers infatuated with each other on the running track anymore.”

He blinked, taken aback. “Ah…,” he said, slightly discomfited, “You’re right, we’re not what we were, but…” Light, her steady gaze. Why were women so confusing? “But what I meant, was…”

“Tyaoris,” Menaihya said all of a sudden, staring down at the floor between them for a brief moment, before directing him what he could have sworn was amusement glimmering in the green depths of her eyes, though that could not be. Why would she feel amusement at this point in time? Especially after what she would say next. “Was Saleka al’Murne good to you? Between the covers?”

He was hit between the eyes by her straight-forwardness. Acquainted with her stunning Aiel ways, he was, but she always found a way to further surprise him. “Uh…,” he said, searching for an answer, as well as the wisdom between his skull to be able to distinguish at this point whether he should even answer. With anything. What was it that she wanted to hear, exactly? He wished women would simply say those things straight out. Wouldn’t life be so much simpler? “Well…” He sighed and reached out to grasp her shoulder. “Why are you asking me that?”

“Was she better than me?”

He stared. “Menaihya,” he started, then couldn’t find the words to continue. Instead, as an attempt to lighten whatever it was that had put this strain upon him, he said with a smile, “Really, I never thought you would have the capability of showing jealousy. Are you unwell?”

“Jealousy?” she said, as if the notion were new to her, “Do not flatter yourself, Tyaoris a’Kador. Do you really think I would back away had a Yellow decided to take a man worth keeping all to herself?”

“Well, wasn’t that harsh.” He gave a single chuckle and held her gaze with steady gravity. “I wasn’t worth keeping?” he repeated her words.

“Would I have tossed you away like that if you were?” She moved away from under his touch on her shoulder, but for some reason, his grasp tightened. Her eyes flicked up at him inquiringly.

“Not worth keeping?”

He drew her towards him, and not caring whether her expression was as unreadable as ever, he lowered his face towards hers until gradually their mouths met, and his arm circled around her. Funny how things are; he had thought she wouldn’t allow him to continue further, if by the One Power, much less respond positively in any way and form; however, it was almost instantaneous that her lips were firm under his in her own passion. Oh, Menaihya… There was an inner sigh within him, an inexplicable sigh, as he moved away from her lips with a strength of will—for fear of…passions best left unaroused at this point in time, considering he had places to go and duties to fulfill—, and rested his mouth against the top of her forehead. Her breath was hot and short at his neck, but remarkably quickly it slowed to normalcy. His hands clutched her, but he was aware of her firm moving away. Soon a distance lay between them once more, and Tyaoris stared at her with his blue gaze.

She left the room, and so did he.

Not long after, he was standing in the Traveling Grounds, letting Zekian know he was there—not that he wouldn’t be. The snow had dwindled to a temporary stop, and the skies were a blotchy white.

Menaihya, he realized as he stood off to the side and observed the throng of eager initiates, was one of the Greens who was to go with them on the trip.



OOC: She won’t be PC.

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