Thoughts of a new life!
Posted 31 July 2011 - 05:52 PM
Eqwina knew all to well the heartbreak attachments could make. Lightly twirling the small necklace between her fingers She stared out the windows to her chambers thinking on what could have been. If only Nevin had returned to her perhaps her life would have taken a different path. Alas, oaths to the Dark Lord were not taken lightly and could not be broken until that last hour of death. If her death would allow a reunion with Nevin she might consider ending her life; but she knew that death was nothing but closing the book on your llife. Eqwina had tortured too many to believe any different.
Maybe some day when her oaths were fulfilled the Dark Lord would allow her to discover the truth of death.
Letting the necklace fall back to her chest she picked up the small slip of paper and read it over again. The flowers bloom brilliant pink this Spring The message was nearly useless to her. Her own eyes and ears and the Dark Lords network provided her with far more information, but it was important to keep up appearances. Scribbling down the appropriately coded response she set the note aside and moved on to the next.
Sadly this now was her life. A world of cyphers and codes, intrigue and death. A far cry from the life she had imagined with Nevin.
**mistakes fixed because I am ocd like that**
Posted 02 August 2011 - 12:28 PM
When she was satisfied with the message she folded the paper over on itself, the ink she had written it with having long since dried. She put the letter in an envelope and matched up the proper seal. Alia put her code books in the secret drawer in her desk and set the ward before she left her room. She tucked the letter in a small basket she carried with her as she made her way through the Blue Ajah halls and out toward the tower's library. She would drop the message off a little later in the day.
She smiled at the Brown who was watching over the library but she didn't stand still long enough to have much of a discussion. Alia walked down a few aisles stopping as titles caught her eye. She pushed on quickly to find the books she had come for this trip, but she stored the titles that caught her interest for a later visit. When she had her choices for the day stacked in her basket she said her goodbyes to the Brown and headed out into the Tower.
She hadn't been out of her room long, but she supposed it was time to deliver her note. She started walking down a corridor toward the drop off point. The hall was mostly empty, but every so often a Novice or Accepted would rush past her, dipping into varying degrees of curtsies as they rushed. Alia knew she could have hauled a few back to pay her proper respects, but she wasn't that interested in making the young ones lives any more troublesome then they already were. Not over something as simple as how deep a curtsy was, anyway.
As she got closer to the room she was heading to she spotted another Sister walking in the opposite direction. When the woman made eye contact Alia flashed a smile and slowed up her walk, she didn't want the other to see where she was headed. It wasn't that she was heading somewhere she shouldn't be, it was simply that she had become accustomed to watching who saw her dropping things off. The other Sister slowed up her walk as she got closer, but the two kept walking toward each other.
~ Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah
Posted 02 August 2011 - 02:43 PM
Shaking her head slightly at the very old turn of phrase, she tucked the completed notes into her belt pouch and went to the mirror to adjust the barrettes in her hair. No matter how many years she wore those dragonfly barrettes in her hair, leaving the small moonstone dangling just above her brow, could she ever touch them without thinking about her mother. It was strange to think of women with her power ever having been young, or with mothers, but Eqwina had been a very sweet child all those years ago.
Smiling at her own reflection she could still she visages of that young girl, but there was a wisdom and a darkness behind her eyes now. Anyone who looked at her could see the wisdom far beyond on her years, but would they see the darkness too? Surely not, or she would no longer be alive. Tucking back a few stray hairs she warded her rooms and set off through the halls.
The day was dying quickly, and the Tower halls were nearly deserted, but that did not mean she didn’t pass the occasional rushing novice, or an Accepted who was walking with a strained grace. She barely acknowledged their curtsies, and kept her pace slow and steady. The stately grace that Accepted ached to achieve radiated from Eqwina; she was in complete control. She skillfully dropped the first three notes leaving them behind a tapestry, under a golden vase, and tucked into a flower blossom. All were left without being seen and with barely breaking her stride.
Eqwina had quickly learned that timing was everything when trying to go unnoticed in the Tower. Leave your rooms too late in the evening and it could cause unwanted talk, be seen taking interest where you shouldn’t and people talked. Step out just after the dinner hour, when the Tower was finishing its daily cycle and you could wander the halls without exciting any talk.
With only one note left in her pouch Eqwina was determined to see it dropped so that she could leave the Tower in time to meet young Kastor. Agreeing to see him again was foolish, but she was anxious to see where their little game would lead them.
She rounded another corner and saw another Black Aes Sedai walking towards her. Alia of course did not know that Eqwina was of her persuasion, but she knew every face that was on the Black Ajah scrolls. Giving the woman a friendly smile and nod she raised up her hand to halt her. With so few sisters in the Tower it would not be suspicious for Eqwina to know her name.
“Good evening Alia. I hope it finds you well” Eqwina had artful stopped Alia within inches of the small niche in which she was to deliver her note. Under the ruse of adjusting her skirts Eqwina placed her back parallel to the niche and with a steady hand slipped the note under the vase. All the while she smiled at Alia and made pleasant conversation. “I have heard that you are the best in the Tower with riddles and ciphers. I have recently misplaced my code for one of my eyes and ears. Perhaps some afternoon over tea you could help me replace it?”
Giving the woman another small smile Eqwina nodded respectfully and headed towards the bottom most floor of the Tower and out into the failing night. It had been a close run drop, but Eqwina felt sure she was not seen.
Posted 02 August 2011 - 03:55 PM
Alia let a small smile show at the compliment. It wasn't the first time someone had asked her to help with such a task. She almost felt like the go to girl for these things, but she didn't mind. The codes were rarely as difficult to crack as the other's seemed to make them out to be, and she often learned a lot of new information from the messages she decoded.
"Good evening, Eqwina. I'm quite well, thank you. I'm not certain I am the best in the Tower for such things, but I do have a bit of a knack for that sort of thing. I'm sure I could free up an afternoon and see what I can do to help you with it. I'll be in touch with times I could be free. I'm sure we'll find a time that works well for both of us soon."
She wasn't trying to rush Eqwina, but she didn't want to hold the woman up trying to lock down a time. She seemed a little rushed, and Alia had things to be doing as well.
With a polite nod and a quick goodbye Eqwina moved on. Alia reached into her basket and felt around for the envelope she had set between two of the books. As her eyes rose from the basket to door Alia noticed the corner of paper under the vase in the nook she had been standing beside.
Odd. I don't recall that being there a minute ago. She had only offhandedly glanced at the nook out of habit before the woman stopped her, but she hadn't noticed it then. The hall was empty so Alia quickly removed the note and slipped it into her basket, between the books where her own letter had just been. Without pause Alia continued on to drop off the letter she had written. It was getting late in the day, and she still have had her supper to eat.
She dropped her letter off and picked up her meal tray, but she kept pulling back to the letter in the nook. It hadn't been showing much and it could have been overlooked on her glance. She was distracted trying to look as though she wasn't interested in the nook, but she prided herself on how observant she was of those little things, just out of place. She was the best in the tower at decoding cyphers. You have to notice the smallest things out of place to be good at that. She had trained her mind for years to notice the smallest details at a glance.
She entered her room and set her food on the table. She took new message out of her basket and turned it over in hand as she sat in her chair. She tried to read the message, but her mind kept wandering back to her finding it.How did I not see it?She played the scene over in her head, as if she would notice it in her memory, even though she hadn't at the time. I was walking through the hall. I saw Eqwina and walked to her side of the hall. I glance into the nook, but I don't recall seeing this. Alia scowled at herself but continued on. Eqwina approached me, and inquired about her code and she left. I was alone in the hall and I looked down to my basket... Alia's memory showed the woman's skirt shifting and Alia's eyes widened. Could it be? Why would Eqwina have left it while I was right there? It doesn't make sense. Alia thought it through again, but no matter how she thought it out, it all came back to the same thing. But how was she going to find out if she was right? There was only one way. But stalking this Black was not going to be easy.
~Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah
Posted 09 August 2011 - 09:33 PM
For being so young Kastor was wise beyond his years; wisdom no doubt garnered from his father. So often she saw traces of his father, and it reminded her of the years that separated them; but this night she refused to think of anything but of how much he pleased her. Pressing a coin into the Innkeepers hand she murmured her thanks as they were led to a private dining room.
The hours of the evening melted away and all too soon the sun was rising over the shining walls and Eqwina was just shutting the doors to her rooms. Drawing the curtains tight over her windows she fell into her bed, barely pausing long enough to set the wards around her rooms.
As the sun stood directly over the Tower Eqwina woke from a fitful sleep. Her dreams had been haunted by her carelessness; she’d dreamt of Kastor’s betrayal, and of being exposed as leader of the Black Ajah, stripped of her shawl and stilled. She’d seen her own death, and the destruction of the White Tower all in fits and starts that left her soaked to the skin.
Stumbling from her bed, she poured water into her gilded porcelain basin with shaking hands. Not even taking the time to heat the water Eqwina submerged her face and held it there for several trembling breaths. Counting slowly to 20 she forced her mind to relax so that by the time she toweled off her face and hands she had regained some measure of calm.
“They were only dreams, not foretellings. Light woman! Get a grip.” Even as she spoke the words aloud to herself a part of her knew that she had been taking unnecessary risks. The new young man in her life was proving more dangerous than she’d first imagined. At first she had suspected that he was a spy, or some Black Ajah plant meant to undermine her, but now she knew him for what he really was. Kastor was a manifestation of her sweet Nevin, and even now so many years later she was still just a foolish girl. Some things it seemed never changed, no matter how far you came.
Shutting all thoughts of him away in the back of her mind she dressed methodically, and went out into the halls of the Tower to see if any of her notes of been responded too. Over the next few days Eqwina reverted to her careful ways but all too quickly she found herself taking unnecessary risks, and being careless where she peddled her information. She’d cornered another member of her heart in one of the Tower’s many gardens, in broad daylight and questioned her about a Black Ajah assignment she’d been set.
That had been a foolish mistake in so many ways……
Posted 15 August 2011 - 01:23 PM
Any Black would be watching her back, but there were more excuses for being anywhere at any given time in this city than there was reasons to believe you were being followed. Alia was Aes Sedai and could come and go when and where she pleased. Even if Eqwina suspected she was following her there was little she could do to prove it and little more still she could about it.
The Blue set out in search Eqwina, trying her best to not make it obvious even though she doubted a soul ever noticed. She saw the sister leaving the tower and followed her out. She stayed a good distance away, but walked at a normal pace. She only looked up at the woman long enough to catch her direction and not let her get out of sight. As the two entered the city Alia got a little closer. They weren't the only Aes Sedai in the city, or even on the block, so her worry of being noticed was lessened. She followed the woman through the city and noted all she could of the features of the man who stepped out of the shadows in the alley. Who was he? Just an informant for the Yellow Sister, or a darkfriend? Or something else all together?
As the day drew on it was being coming clear that this was purly a personal visit. Alia still waited until the other woman made it clear that the rest of her day was devoted to this man. Alia shook her head and walked back to the Tower, frustrated with the long hours and still not being any further ahead. How long would she follow this woman trying to find out if the small hope of a hunch she had was right? If the woman had tripped up so easily the day before, hopefully she would slip up again, and soon.
Alia spent the next few days following the woman, but from morn to night the woman continued to live a normal life of an Aes Sedai. There may have been some odd stops and some questioning conversations she'd over heard, but nothing that couldn't be explained away by recalling that the woman was an Aes Sedai. She had replied to the note and left it under the vase for retrieval, but the letter was picked up before Alia could see who took it. Her best chance to see if it had been Eqwina who left it, and she had missed it somehow.
Alia rarely gave up when she had a mission set for herself, but this mission was based on a the smallest hint and was proving rather like a goose chase. The unsettling feeling of simply not knowing one way or the other was enough to keep the investigation going. Her persistence finally paid off one sunny afternoon while Alia was strolling through one of the Tower's gardens. The woman finally slipped up in a conversation. There was only Alia, Eqwina and one other woman in the garden when it happened and Alia almost didn't believe her ears when she heard the question the Yellow asked.
A small smile crept onto the Blue's face as she tried to look like she hadn't heard, like she hadn't been paying attention to the other's conversation. She didn't see the worried gaze from the woman Eqwina was speaking too as she walked further into the garden, but her heart raced. Not only did she now know Eqwina was black, she had another new name to add to her long list of blacks she had already found out. It had been somewhat of a small hobby Alia had been working on over the years since she joined the Ajah. She knew the sisters in her own heart of course, but after a little bit of investigation she had found out a fair number of others, through common sense deductions and witnessing slip ups like this. Today she would add two new names to that list. And tomorrow she would follow Eqwina again to see where else she slipped up. This woman seemed to have a death wish the way she was slipping and Alia would see that she got as much information as she could from it before the woman brought the whole Ajah down.
~Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah
Posted 31 August 2011 - 11:31 AM
“Insufferable! Absolutely without a doubt undeserving of your power!” She had been speaking to herself in the third person for nearly an hour, but every time her personal tirade slowed, thoughts of Kastor slipped back into her mind. That was a danger she could not allow. It would take much to cover the tracks she’d made the last week, and thoughts of a man could not be allowed to interfere.
It had all began with confronting a Black Ajah Sister in the Tower Gardens and disintegrated from there…….
Her love affair with Kastor and her discontent with her position led her to reckless behaviors such as lying out right with in ear short of another Aes Sedai. Should the young Brown decide to check Eqwina’s facts she would be exposed for sure. Worse than that though had been the incident with the serving girl…
The hour was late, and only one lamp in three was lit; making the halls seem alive with shadows. Eqwina and Kastor made their way through the halls with little care who saw them pass. The hour was too late for any respectable to be awake, and that meant that no one whose opinion mattered would witness her midnight tryst. Even though the position was no longer her own, her years as a Sitter had afforded a larger room than many sisters and it was also at the end of a nearly deserted hallway. Its rather isolated position was what allowed Eqwina such a moment of reckless abandon as she pressed her body against the young Tower Guards, pinning him between her chest and the door. No longer caring for propriety she wrapped her arms around his neck and caught him in a passionate kiss.
It was clothed only in blankets and tangled in each others arms that the young serving woman found them the next morning. Eqwina had forgotten that she had asked to have an early breakfast delivered the afternoon before. The young woman made very little noise as she sat down the tray laden with food, glancing at the books on the table she gently moved them aside before setting down the napkins and plates. The floor was littered with other books and a writing case, the un-stoppered ink slowly spilling across the rug. Not glancing at any of the papers she quietly set the ink bottle upright and tidied up what she could reach. She turned to go but as she crept by the naked Aes Sedai and the handsome young man she could not help but stop and stare. His body was chiseled to perfection, and his face carried a hint of beauty beneath its hard lines. Giggling behind hand the maid turned to leave and found herself face to face with a stern looking Aes Sedai. Eqwina had woken up to the smells of food only to see the child staring down at Kastor.
“Your eyes are taking their fill I see.” Standing stark naked Eqwina still managed to seem as regal as a queen. “I suppose your tongue will wag freely about what you’ve seen here. It had not been phrased as a question, but the young maid still tried to stammer her denial. “Go and stand over there until I decide what should be done with you.” Wrapping herself in a blanket Eqwina nudged Kastor gently to wake him up. As unconcerned for his nudity as Eqwina had been he dressed leisurely and stopped for a few pieces of toast before heading out into the Warder’s Yards.
Forgetting about the maid for a moment Eqwina glanced around the room and was appalled at the mess they had created. Several of her cipher books for the Black Ajah were lying on the table near the food tray, and her writing box had been knocked to the floor scattering her papers and spilling ink. The girl had too much opportunity to see what she should not… the question remained though, was it enough to warrant a murder?
Eqwina had always been careful when dispensing death, and she was not one to torture needlessly. Watching the girl Eqwina wondered how hard it would be dispose of the body. As she stood and watched the young maid quivered in the corner under her gaze, and in the end it was that that decided her. If she was this scared by a simple reprimand then she would never hold her tongue.
Sighing Eqwina embraced the source and with a club of air knocked the girl out. Much in the way she had killed her escort to the Blight all those years ago, she wrapped a bubble of air around the girls head and waited for her to suffocate. With a distasteful frown she picked the girl up just a few inches off the floor and moved her body into her dressing room until she could figure out how to dispose of her.
"Committing murder! In broad daylight! In the White Tower, with the Mistress of Kitchen’s likely knowing that a tray was sent your rooms!” Eqwina was still furious at herself for all that transpired. She’d managed to put her head on the chopping block as well as risked exposure of the Black Ajah. Her masters would not be happy if they ever heard. At the very least she had disposed of the young maid without anyone noticing! Maybe if she could convince her masters that it had only been a temporary loss in judgement she would save her neck.
Posted 06 December 2011 - 01:34 PM
Now there was nothing to say the girl had ever been in her rooms, except for the body…
Back in her bedchamber the girl’s body lay on the floor. Had it not been for the slight blue color to her lips, and the chill of her skin she could have been asleep. Burning the body as she had done when she killed Isha would not work; she’d been deep in the Tower then. Surround by stone walls, and floor. In her rooms there were too many things to catch fire. Walking a slow circuit around the child she pondered her options.
“Perhaps I could wrap her up in a rug? but that would mean using men to carry it for me. No Aes Sedai would use Saidar for such a mundane task in full view of her Sisters. I cannot risk causing comment.” Taping her fingers gently on her lips Eqwina continued to talk to herself; discarding plan after plan.
The small clock on her mantle chimed and Eqwina flinched. Too much time had passed already, she had to make a decision and quick or risk being caught with a body on her rug. Choosing a dark green thick woolen cloak from her closet, she used air to position the girls body in the center. Dead bodies did not bleed as much as live ones, but she wouldn’t risk getting blood on her rugs. With grim determination she set to cutting the girl’s body into small pieces. It was surprisingly quick work, and within minutes her cloak made a decent sized bundle in the middle of the floor. Quickly she wrapped the cloak in plain brown paper, and wrapped it with cord. Making sure the knots were tight.
Pushing it as far under her bed as it would go she left for the Warder’s yard in search of Kastor. He was the only one she could trust with a task such as this.
It took the better part of an hour to find him, but it was the work of seconds to make him agree to carry her burden for her.
They rushed back to her rooms, taking care to appear casual, and nothing more than an Aes Sedai with a potential Warder. Back in her rooms Eqwina explained the situation in full, and Kastor was quick to offer his suggestions. They agreed on a plan. Kastor was going to carry the package for her. It was to be a bundle of her dresses being taking for refitting should anyone ask. Once outside the White Tower they would head towards the harbor. There was no crime to speak of in Tar Valon, but with a city this size there was always dark corners in which things could be hidden.
To further their story Eqwina was going to pick a seamstress and order a few new dresses, which Kastor found a place to bury the former Tower maid.
Posted 06 December 2011 - 07:26 PM
She brushed out her hair and collected her notes. Eqwina was expecting her to help solve that code. Darn that novice who must have forgotten to give the Yellow her note. When Alia didn't hear back from her she had assumed the time she had suggested worked well for Eqwina. Thank the Great Lord for allowing her the ability to say these plots so easily to get what she wanted.
Alia left as early as she could get away with going to the Yellow's room without seeming like she came before the sun. She was hoping to catch Eqwina off guard, maybe see some paperwork she shouldn't to incriminate her further or have her say something else to add to her growing list of dangers.
Alia saw the serving girl slip into the Yellow's room so she waited in the hall for her to return. She wouldn't be long dropping off a tray. Alia looked at the bright walls and shook her head. These halls were as bad as a group of tinkers! She shifted on her feet as she looked down the hall hoping no one would come. She had a reason to be there, but still a blue sister standing in the yellow halls did stand out like a sore thumb. What could be keeping the serving girl? How long did it take to say "your meal, Aes Sedai." and set a tray down? Time went by and Alia started to feel awkward standing outside Eqwina's door so she began to walk down the brightly coloured walls, pretending to be interested in the ajah's eclectic style. When she reached the farthest end of the hall she heard the quiet click of a door being opened and turned to see if the serving girl was finally leaving the room. To her amament the girl leaving Eqwina's room was not the maid, but the yellow herself. Alia rushed back down to catch her but the woman was already gone. Why would she ever leave a serving girl alone in her room? Surely she would have sent the girl away before running off. Something wasn't right.
Standing outside of the yellows room Alia tested the room. No wards in place? Really Eqwina? Surely with your information you'd keep this room of all of them locked up tight. Alia slowly opened the door, still wary of a trap, but much to her surprise there was nothing to stop her. Even if Eqwina was tipped off to her presence she had that story all planned to explain her presence. And if that failed she would jump right into exposing her for what she was and surely that would shock her long enough for Alia to get the upper hand again. Alia glanced around the empty room. Odd, I didn't see the serving girl. she thought, but she clearly wasn't there so Alia assumed the girl had left before Eqwina came out. She had probably been too deafened by the colours in the hall to notice her leave.
The blue put her notes down on Eqwina's desk and decided that a little careful snooping wouldn't hurt. She started looking through the drawers of the desks, but not surprisingly, she didn't find anything of use in them. At least some point she must have had a head on her shoulders. There is no way she has no information. It has to be here. Something has to be here. A letter from someone in her heart? A reply she started to someone? Ok, think Alia, if this were your room where would you put your information? Alia thought of the false bottom in her own headboard on her bed. Alright, now think like someone who is not you. Where would the normal person hide their personal things. Look for something difference. Something that stands out, yet doesn't. Something obvious is probably correct.
As Alia swiftly made her way through the room, unsure of when the Yellow would return she caught sight of her reflection and almost jumped. She stopped and took a double look at the dressing mirror. It was a lovely piece, engraved with a sword and shields. As Alia glaced at it she noticed that all the things engraved in it were alike, but there was one shield that had three roses carved into it where all the others had two. Alia smiled, this one was very clever when she had her head on straight! Alia tried putting pressure on the roses hoping to flip some switch. The third rose, the extra one, did it and a small vertial door opened on the side. As the coded papers showed through Alai's smile grew, oh Eqwina, I almost feel bad about finding your secret. Almost.
Alia took the papers and quickly closed the secret opening in the mirror. She turned to go gather her notes to start decoding the messages, but as she was walking past the bed she noticed something dark sticking out just an inch past the leg. Just how many secrets do you have sister? Alia crouched down to try to find out what she so apparently shoved under the bed could be. She didn't seem to care for whatever it was. Before she could begin to move it she heard the footsteps nearing the room. Two sets, when she listened carefully. It was too late to run, so Alia grabbed her notes and all evidence that she had been there and jumped into the woman's wardrobe just before she came in.
Now this would be hard to explain! Luckily for her, she wouldn't end up needing to explain. Though after the conversation she heard between that tower guard and Eqwina about the body of the servant under the bed, Eqwina was going to have a very hard time explaining herself. It seemed like hours that Alia held up in that wardrobe while Eqwina and the man she had been bedding decided how to clean up her mess. But finally they gather up the remains and left.
Alia waited until she heard the door close and then waited a few minutes longer before she came out of the wardrobe. She was stunned that the woman had gone so far as to kill a servant in the White Tower herself, but at least the woman had known that she was out of her mind it seemed. Still that mistake was far larger than handing a message directly to another black in plan sight. This one act could destroy them all.
She knew she should leave the room and come back later, but this had to end. She couldn't just chase Eqwina down and silence her in public. No this had to be dealt with today, and it had to be dealt with in private. The only place she could guarantee the Yellow would be was back in this room, so Alia took a seat at the yellow's desk and fished out the papers she had taken from her mirror. The information she was so pleased to find seemed so much less important now, but information was information and anything else she could add to her knowledge could only help with her attack when the other woman returned to her rooms. Taking her out her code notes Alia began to work through the messages. When she finally cracked her sister's code she started translating, she was shocked at what she saw. Alia had in her hands the full list of all of the sisters in the black ajah. She her self had a list with quite a few names, but this was something more. This had every name, every heart, locations of secret drop off locations. This was more than some hobby to find out her sisters. There was only one explaination. She had found out the Head of the Black Ajah. Alia was in shock. Could this woman who has made so many mistakes really be the head? Well, that won't last very much longer, Alia knew this would only mean more pressure on her confrontation, but it would give her the edge she needed.
She didn't know how long she had been waiting when Eqwina returned, she only knew that she had missed at least one meal, and she was feeling it. But this was far more important. The Yellow came in with her hands full and didn't seem to notice Alia, now sitting on a chair in a corner, as she set the large parcel on her bed and opened it to expose the new dresses inside.
Alia centered herself. She can come to far to back out now. But so much was on the line if Eqwina truly was the head. But Eqwina needed to be stopped. Head or not, she was putting this ajah at risk. Finally Alia broke the silence, "Hello, Eqwina. Those are some lovely new dresses you have there."
Aes Sedai of the Black Ajah
Posted 06 December 2011 - 09:18 PM
She did allow herself one deep breath as she and Kastor walked out into the busy city street. The hardest part was over, and now she could start putting her life back together and give over her ineptitudes before she got herself killed. Stopping at a small seamstress shop she loosened the strings on her purse, and prepared to order as many dresses as is took to make herself feel sane again.
A few hours later she left with 3 dresses in hand. These were sample pieces that the seamstress had set her assistants to altering as soon as Eqwina’s measurements were taken. The rest were to be custom made and ready by the end of the week.
The time at the seamstress had done wonders to calm what nerves she had, and it had given her time to plan her return to the top. Entering her rooms she was already preparing her next correspondence in her head. Crossing the floor of her sitting room she laid the dresses carefully on her bed and turned back to her desk when she saw Alia.
"Hello, Eqwina. Those are some lovely new dresses you have there."
Eqwina’s heart leapt into her throat, but outwardly she held to her calm. Arching an eyebrow and giving Alia a wry smile she opted for silence. It was a tool that many of her younger Sister’s often forgot. Not bothering to keep her eyes on Alia she opened the door to a small cabinet carved to such a degree that it seemed to almost be made of living vines, rather than varnished wood. Taking out a bottle of well aged brandy she poured two generous glasses and quickly embraced Saidar to cool them slightly. She felt Alia grasp the source, but did not turn around. Pouring a small amount of water into Alia’s glass she served it to her without a word.
Taking a measured sip of the brandy, Eqwina allowed the warmth to fill her before speaking. “I find that younger women often have no tongue or stomach for brandy, but when you have lived as long as I have you develop a taste for many things you disdained in your younger days. The warmth it provides is always welcome, even in summer time, don’t you agree?”
Alia said not a word, giving Eqwina a chance to try and ferret out what her sister knew and begin to counter her knowledge. Again she mused that people put too litter store in silence. Mentally preparing herself for whatever battle this kitten had concocted, she ran over what she knew of the woman. Alia was intelligent, and deft at cracking codes and ciphers. She was highly observant and skilled at keeping secrets. All of this could spell trouble, she would have to move forward assuming that the child knew all her secrets.
“I am sure you did not come hear to drink my brandy. What is it that I can do for you, Alia?”
Posted 09 December 2011 - 08:41 AM
Alia could tell the moment the other woman grabbed hold of the source and in an instant she found herself doing the same, ready to block the sheild she feared the yellow would through at her. And then nothing happened. Well then, there is no chance she would believe I'm just here to help her replace her lost code. I suppose I really do have to deal with here and now. I wish I had more time to plan this conversation, it could so easily go wrong. She knew she shouldn't think like that. Not when there was no turning back. No, this must be done. I have all I need to see it done. She is a danger, and I have the tools to stop her.
When the woman turned around and handed Alia the chilled brandy she gracefully reached out to accept it. She gently cupped the glass in her hands, but did not drink from it. She couldn't see the woman preparing it, and while she thought the chance that it could have been tampered with was slim, she still knew there was a chance.
The other woman sipped on hers and then finally she spoke, “I find that younger women often have no tongue or stomach for brandy, but when you have lived as long as I have you develop a taste for many things you disdained in your younger days. The warmth it provides is always welcome, even in summer time, don’t you agree?”
Alia played back at the woman the way she had played at the blue and did not say a thing in responce. The woman set a challenge. She hadn't said the words of course, but Alia had been playing these Aes Sedai games enough to hear her true words loud and clear, I have had more experience than you have, little one. I am capable of more than you may know. If you are here to try something, you had better be prepaired to take on the leader of the pack. She tilted her glass in a slow circle to let the brandy move fluidly in the cup. She weighed the chances of it being poisoned again and then took the leap. In a smooth sip Alia took in the brandy and swallowed it with ease. No hint of foreign substance, that reduced the choices to be in it if it was drugged.
When Alia still didn't reply the other woman took the lead, “I am sure you did not come hear to drink my brandy. What is it that I can do for you, Alia?”
"That I did not, Eqwina, though a fine brandy it is." The blue set the cup aside before continuing. "Though I find I tend to stay away from drinks as strong as brandy unless I need the comfort of the harsh warmth they bring." She gestured at the open bottle, clearly not newly opened this visit, "It would seem you've needed much comfort lately, if you drink the stuff as I do."
Aes Sedai of the Black Ajah
Posted 09 December 2011 - 11:42 AM
From her tiny body erupted a melodious laughter that filled the room and made her cheeks turn pink from mirth. “Oh my dear Alia, you cannot possibly begin to know the type of comfort a woman in my position needs.” Brushing the stray hairs away from her face, Eqwina set down her glass and all signs of laughter faded from her face. Her emerald green eyes blazed with an intensity that set the room a flame.
“I opposed your acceptance to the Black Ajah, you should know that.” With one sentence Eqwina had divulged that she at least had some clue as why Alia was here, and at the same time she was working to put the woman off balance. If she could move her to the defensive, there was a small hope that Eqwina would live to see dawn.
“I have always believed that you were too cunning by half, and that mind of yours sees far too clearly.” Taking a seat in her favorite chair she motioned for Alia to take the opposite chair. “I would suggest Alia that you dispense with the insults and keep foremost in the front of your mind the fact that I have long desired to see you dead.” She did not embrace the source or make any threatening gesture beyond leaning forward slightly to better meet the Blue’s eyes. “There is blood on both our hands child, but let’s not push the boundaries of civility too far, or we may learn who is quicker to grab a blade.”
Trying to maneuver for advantage
Posted 09 December 2011 - 12:30 PM
"You thought me cunning and clear sighted, yet you opposed my acceptance? I see your level of interest in keeping our ajah strong was just as much then as it is now. A lot of good your opposition did," Alia scoffed, "you would think someone in your place would have more say in these matters, but I suppose it was for the ajah's best that you were overruled. And you are right Eqwina, I cannot possibly begin to know the type of comfort a woman on her last legs needs. With the careless mistakes you've made of late, I don't blame you one bit for being uncomfortable. If I had put this ajah in half as much danger as you have, I would be drinking that bottle up as well. Of course, it must be a relief to see me sitting here and not one of the Chosen. But at this point they couldn't be far from your door. And unfortunately for you, I am not much better sitting here than they are."
Alia picked her drink up and took another sip. "I am not one for games, Eqwina. Oh and I can play them well when I must, but we are well past games. Now it is a matter of survival. You have threatened the survival of our ajah. You have been careless beyond acceptance. You've been lucky so far, but your luck has run out."
Posted 13 December 2011 - 10:05 AM
“Your pittance of knowledge is disgusting Alia. I have no right to say who swears to the Great Lord, and if you had any real knowledge of what it is like to bask in his radiance, to almost feel his touch, then you would know in your bones that we are all just pieces on a stones board to him. We are worms, and it is not for a worm to decide where the sun shines.” Her pale cheeks were flushed red with fury, and her knuckles white with the strain of not drawing her belt knife here and now. It was one thing to know her own faults, and to accept the mistakes she had made. It was quite another to have this chit, one that she had never really liked try to threaten her with her faults.
“You claim that I have made mistakes, but how would one such as you know what my mistakes are? Do you not believe in the Chosen? Do you not know their fury?” A smile that radiated murder painted Eqwina’s face and her tone was mocking. “But of course you couldn’t know their praise or their fury could you?” Tapping a fingernail hard into Alia’s chest Eqwina bore down with pressure just short of drawing blood. “How can you be sure that each misstep I have made was not at the direction of your betters? How can you be sure that I am not following their orders right now? And that this is not a trap? Are you so sure of your skills that you are ready to bet your life on what your little codes and ciphers have told you?”
Posted 13 December 2011 - 03:34 PM
As the Yellow's fingers dug in Alia's chest she couldn't fight off the smirk. It was all she could do to stop from bursting into a full on laugh. For days she had ran the idea of just what Eqwina was suggesting through her mind. Could this all be reasoned out? Could she have orders that Alia did not know about? The only conclusion that Alia could think that would make that possible would be if the Great Lord had decided to reveal the ajah's existence and have them all wiped out. It wasn't an impossible thought. Eqwina was right about one thing, no Aes Sedai, no matter her devotion or station could ever know the mind of the Great Lord. But if he was to decide to abolish the ajah, surely he would do so on a much grander scale, and if not, her stopping Eqwina would never stop the Great Lord's master plan.
"Oh Eqwina, you are not truly trying to pass the blame of your careless actions onto the direction of your betters, are you? It would seem that you do not know their fury if you dare try to say that the Chosen put you up to this! They were your mistakes. Mistakes and nothing more. If you were not making mistakes you would not be so worked up right now. If this was all going to plan you would not be over reacting like this, puffing your chest and blowing steam out of your ears. It is not what I learned through ciphers and codes that has me worried about you, it is what I have heard from your own mouth, and seen you do with my own eyes that make me certain of your mistakes. Surely if the Great Lord willed our ajah to be exposed he could have it done more efficiently. If it was his plan to have you be the one to take us down, surely you'd have done a better job of it. Though if given a moment more I'm sure you would cross the line where the one to hear you talk openly of the blacks in the gardens, or receive the wrong message, or see you panic over the murdered serving girl in your room wasn't black and we'd all be dead. If it was an order sent down from above you, then it will get carried out whether you are behind it or not. Until I hear the order myself from a more credible source, I will not let you do any more damage."
Aes Sedai of the Black Ajah
(sorry this is shorter that I wanted, I had to rush it)
Posted 31 January 2012 - 12:49 PM
Shaking her head Eqwina returned to her seat and took a few deep breaths. Hadn’t this been what she wanted? Had she not stayed up many nights trying to discover a way out? A way to leave this all behind, but still spare her life? Perhaps the battle she fought was not to maintain her position as Ajah Head, but to spare her life.
“What is it you want from me Alia? Do you wish me to admit that I have failed? Do you wish to see me beg for my life? Beg to keep this position of power? I have lived far too many years and fought far too many battles to wage another one here with you. So dispense with the games and just tell me what you hoped this would accomplish.”
Too tired to fight anymore
Posted 31 January 2012 - 02:26 PM
Then the woman really did snap. She stepped back from Alia and her actions shocked the Blue. Did she just submit? Did she truely just back down and give up? Alia didn't bother to school her face as her jaw dropped open as the yellow, who had fought so hard through this whole encounter just retreated to her chair. Everything about the way she held herself and the way that she spoke held nothing but defeat. And no, it couldn't be, but was there an air of relief in the woman? Surely it was a trick, one to knock the blue off guard. Yes, that was it, Eqwina was trying to make her think she had won, just so she could come back and have the element of surprise when she began smothering the life out of her.
Alia just stared at the woman in disbelief as she settled into the chair. “What is it you want from me Alia? Do you wish me to admit that I have failed? Do you wish to see me beg for my life? Beg to keep this position of power? I have lived far too many years and fought far too many battles to wage another one here with you. So dispense with the games and just tell me what you hoped this would accomplish.”
Alia finally pulled herself together. If it was a game, she would play along, and if it wasn't she would end it.
"I don't want to see you beg for the position Eqwina, you are not fit to hold it any longer. I will relieve you of your duty as Head of the Black Ajah." The words came as just as much of a surprise to her as she thought they may come to the yellow, but then where else was her confrontation going? When she had found the information that proved Eqwina was the Head, how else did she think this would end? One of them dead, sure, but where would that leave the other one? The only answer was as the Head of the Black Ajah.
With more conviction the Blue pushed on, "you have put our Ajah in danger too many times. You need to be stopped. You don't need to admit that you have failed. That is more than clear. But you do need to be put in a position where you can't hurt this Ajah anymore. Taking your life seems a bit extreme, and its terribly tricky to murder an Aes Sedai in the White Tower, not impossible I'm sure you're aware, but I'd rather not have it happen if I can avoid it. This Ajah can still use the knowledge you hold. But it is figuring out how to keep your knowledge without allowing you to do more damage that concerns me. You know this is the right decision for the Ajah. You have to know that."
Alia took a moment to sip at her brandy and studied the woman over the edge of her glass. Time to see if the woman had truly backed down or if this was a trap.
~ Alia Mariadoon
Posted 02 February 2012 - 10:31 AM
Opening her eyes Eqwina sat forward and held Alia’s eyes with a firm gaze. Now that the wheels had been set in motion towards her disposal she felt an odd sort of peace. “It is not that simple Alia, one cannot simply claim position as our Ajah’s head. A missive has to come from the Dark Lord for that to be made true. I fear that unseating me will take more than just those words.”
She saw a moment of disappointment in Alia’s eyes quickly masked. “Perhaps though, with my help I could see it done; on the condition that you help find a way to spare my life. The Dark Lord will not release me easily, but intend to live through this fiasco. While you may find me to be inept at this job, I assure you that if we work together, like it or not, we can come to a accommodating outcome.”
Sitting back and taking a long pull from her drink Eqwina waited, her life in the balance.
Searching for Light at the end of the tunnel
Posted 17 February 2012 - 04:14 PM
She did all she could to regain her stance, make it seem as though it was never a flaw in the first place, but with out challenging the woman more, "It may not be as easy as my saying it is so, but it is just as real from this moment forward. You must submit to that."
Alia kept her tone calm and her manner serine. She had the woman defeated, she didn't want to raise her pride and start the fight again, but this had to get sorted out and it wasn't going to be easy to get the woman to roll over. Blacks are hard women after all.
"There are many things the Head cannot do, but you are a smart woman with many connections, you can see this switch over done. If the best you can do is have yourself removed, I will deal with whomever the Great Lord puts in your place. If you go to the Great Lord and ask to be removed from your position you'd be a fool to think you'd walk out with your head on your shoulders. If you want your life, then you need me just as much as I need you. The difference is, if you don't work with me, I still live. If you don't work with me you die, either at the hands of the Great Lord or at mine." It wasn't a threat, and Alia was sure her tone showed it so, it was merely a fact that was already well known.
"I don't think you need to worry if I will work with you or not. So the real question is why should I trust that when I walk out of this room I will not find a dagger in my back or your room standing empty in the morning? How can I be certain that leaving you alive will not be my end? You have everything to lose, how can I trust you will walk willing in to giving it all over?" She hoped her words would not spark the woman to rethink her position, and so she gave a moment for the woman to reflect on her thoughts, but before she could speak Alia began to say more.
"I am willing to work with you. If you do what you can to make me Head I will stand to keep you alive. You have knowledge and experience I can draw from. As long as I can be sure that you will be no more a threat to me than any other sister in this Tower I will do all that can be done to see you live through this." She knew it was a weak promise, not that she would back down from it, though Eqwina would know that she could. Alia kept to her word as often as she could, short of what her orders made her do differently. But both women knew full well that if Eqwina didn't die at Alia's hand, not one word she could say would ever matter if the Great Lord chose to take her. She would do what she could for the woman though, and she made that as clear as she could.
Aes Sedai of the Black and Blue
(sorry sorry sorry for the long wait for the short reply!)