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Against the Shadow


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#1 Leala

Leala
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Posted 18 April 2011 - 05:12 PM

((Part One of four or five))

Seraph lifted the intricate necklace in her hands and examined the design. The colors were deep and vivid and after a lot of engineering and planning, the ends truly looked like roots of a tree and the main body looked like a winding tree in full bloom. She smiled tiredly and closed off the clasps, satisfied with her work. She set her tools down and turned toward Samya. She had fallen asleep. Her poor friend had fallen ill since she had somehow lit a lantern with no oil or fire source. Neither of them had said it aloud, but both knew that logically, it had to have been connected to the One Power. They had been taught that channelers of the One Power were sinners and deserved death, but from what her friend had said, she felt whole and joyful when she had accidentally lit the lantern. What could have been sinful about that? But it had made her fall ill. But Sam was no blasphemer. That was the only thing she knew. Sam was innocent of any sin.

As she thought this, her ears picked up movement from outside her home. Who could be there so late at night? She waited and listened. There were certainly many footsteps approaching her house. Blinking, Seraph stood and hesitantly headed toward the door, but before she could open it at all, the door splintered open, revealing a large group of Children of the Light. The Lord Captain came in and soon, at least seven golden suns stared her and Samya down. She looked to her friend. Her face was pale and groggy, her wild red hair poking out in all directions from her sleep. Seraph wanted to take the situation in stride, but nothing would come out of her mouth. Finally, the Lord Captain spoke.

“Which one of you is the witch?” he demanded, no give in his tight voice.

This time, Seraph would speak up, she opened her mouth and took in a breath, ready to give herself in return for Sam’s life when her sick friend spoke louder and clearer than she ever could have now.

“I am.” Seraph’s face fell. She could feel the blood draining from her face. Her hands shook as she turned to her friend. She was rising from her bed and stood in her bedclothes, her face proud and strong. “This girl had nothing to do with it.”

And with that, her mind shut off. Any coherent thoughts were flushed away. She tried in all her wild attempts at human language to save her friend, but no one would listen to her. She continued as someone pulled her back, a few someones then. She tried as hard as she could to keep Sam with her, but she was powerless to stop the Children from taking her sister away. Her attempts at stopping them faded into sobs and screams. She slumped in the grip of the other Children, but she did not stop screaming until she ran out of breath. She looked up, through her thick dark hair and glimpsed her friend being escorted through their front door. Samya turned her head and smiled at her. But she knew. They both knew. This would be the last time they would ever see each other.

With the tears streaked down her face and her hair still in her eyes, Seraph took a few breaths and returned the smile. Her world blurred when one of the men grunted and something hit the back of her head.

Seraph coughed and took in a breath as she gathered herself from the floor. “Sam…” she muttered weakly. Her lungs were tired. Dust had stuck to the streaks of dried tears on her cheeks. It was the next day. The lanterns burned the last of their oil, things were scattered on the floor from the scuffle. And she was alone. She shut her eyes as more tears came. She tried not to whimper and sob, but the pain was too much. She sobbed without shame and clung to the simple string of red beads.

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#2 Leala

Leala
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Posted 18 April 2011 - 05:52 PM

((Part Two))

Seraph settled into a chair in the classroom where she would have another class. She was rather early, and the Accepted teaching the class had not yet arrived. In fact, she was the first one there. She laced her fingers together and waited. The skin on her hands was dry and chapped from the day’s chores and she had a sense of accomplishment from the work. The novice let her mind wander as she waited. She heard footsteps come down the hall and come into the room. It was a few more students. The other girls giggled and talked, but when they spotted her, their voices hushed quickly. They sat down, their white skirts rustling softly as they settled in behind her. She acted like she was staring off into space. But she was rather suspicious of them now.

“…says she cries almost every night!” one of them was whispering. They could have been talking about anyone.

“What could make her want to do that?”

“I don’t know, but it’s like she thinks she’s the only one who sacrificed anything to come here.”

“And why does she do that thing with her hands?” another asked. Now she was listening. Since she wasn’t allowed her beads, Seraph had taken to rubbing her fingers together when in thought.

“Heehee, it’s like she’s asking for money or something!”

“Is she doing it now?”

“No, she’s just sitting there.”

Seraph had gone through this before. She knew she was different from the other girls. But she didn’t care. None of them cared where she came from or what she had faced. They all wanted to stay each other’s friends. She wished Valeri Sedai was there. She seemed to be the only one she could talk to honestly about what she was going through. The Mistress of Novices had said that she should explain her story if the others’ gabbing was bothering her. But she wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt.

“Seraph is so strange. She doesn’t have any friends, I feel so sorry for her.”

There was no doubting it now.

“You know I can hear you, yes?” she asked, turning her head to face them.

Every single other girl had a guilty look on her face. “N-no, we were talking about another…Seraph…” The light-brown haired girl chimed in.

“I’m the only Seraph in the Tower,” she said flatly. Apparently, none of them had expected her to have heard or confronted them if she had. All of them were silent. They knew she was right. “So, you all assumed that I am strange because I am distant, and that I am weak because I cry.” By this time, she had turned to face them all. “You can tell from my accent where I am from, yes? Amadicia.”

The small group’s expressions changed from guilt to fear. Women like them were hunted and killed over there. “My best friend was executed because she had accidentally channeled.” She didn’t go into detail because her eyes were beginning to sting. “I came here soon after because I was angry with the Whitecloaks. I still am. But my friend didn’t die too long ago. She was the only family I had. I rub my fingers together because when I’m nervous or thinking, I finger the beads that she made me, but I can’t wear them with the novice whites. That’s why I’m distant. That’s why I cry.” Before she had known it, tears had gathered in her eyes and the rest of the class including the teaching Accepted had walked in to hear her story.

Soon, the whole throng gathered around her to offer apologies, hugs, and comfort. Perhaps Valeri Sedai had been right.

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