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#1 Kelitor

Kelitor
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Posted 15 August 2011 - 05:16 PM

Ykoria felt sweat drip down her ribs as she sat and tried to stay focused on the seminar on law and negotiation. It had been going for three solid hours already, but she knew she dared not slip, not know. She warily watched the Gray sister teaching the class prowl back and forth, her iron-gray hair, a mark of her vast age and experience, pulled back into a prim bun, but wearing a dark-green gown of an unusually tight-cut for a Gray over a whipcord lean frame.

"You!" she snapped, her voice cracking like a breaking bone, her attention thankfully focusing on an Ghealdanin girl, "You are in Tear to oversee a routine purchase of olive oil for the Tower. You are newly raised, and due to suspicions that the Tower is being cheated at some point of the supply chain, you were dispatched by the Hall to investigate. You have no Warder, and you are the only Sister in the city."

She paused briefly, narrowing her eyes to ensure the girl was keeping pace, "in the final stages of your purchase, a girl in the city manifests her spark and channels with spectacular results. The visible nature of her first channeling causes the rabble to bring pressure on the High Lords to execute the girl for breaking the law against channeling. However, you receive a pigeon from a Sitter of your Ajah directing you to bring the girl with you to Tar Valon. Complicating the matter is that the girl is Amadician, and her parents are compelled from high status in the court to call for her execution as a witch. A Lord Captain with a legion of Children of the Light is two days from Tear, and on the march to earn political acclaim for the Children by carrying out the girl's execution.

To summarize: you are the only sister in the city, without a warder, you have to complete your task from the Hall by procuring the oil and discovering any fraud, convey the girl to Tar Valon in spite of the Tairen, Amadician and Children, while maintaining the proper respect for Aes Sedai."

She broke off, staring, and the Ghealdanin girl took a deep breath, obviously taking a moment to collect her thoughts before beginning. Ykoria and the rest of the class listened attentively as the girl calmly described how she would order the Tower's factors to complete and arrange the details of the oil purchase themselves, and assign her Ajah's eyes-and-ears she had access to to monitor the purchase for foul play. She herself would take the customary detachment of Tower guards and take the girl into custody per the precedent they established of sending girls to the Tower. The girl would be discreetly held on the barge and the purchase concluded as soon as possible, at which point she would take the barge back up the river to Tar Valon.

There was silence in the room as she finished, and the Aes Sedai finally nodded cooly, "An adequate solution," she remarked casually, "As Aes Sedai, you will be the paramount women in the world, it will be your job to keep the nations in line, and we cannot do that if they think they have to right to keep candidates from us, or even execute them, to say nothing of cheating us for oil. You had to make a choice between the girl and the oil, and you choose correctly, leaving the girl to die would be a waste and more degrading for the Tower than a routine scam. Ideally, you would have a trusted Warder who could handle it with a more... pointed efficiency, but the factors would prove adequate, and utilizing local contacts would give you some chance of salvaging your original goal of uncovering the cheating."

She stood silent, musing over her own words for a rare moment of stillness until the door creaked open and two Accepted stepped into the room.

"What do you want?" the Aes Sedai snapped in irritation. The Accepted all but fell to their knees curtsying, "Beg pardon, Aes Sedai," said one, "but there is a message for you," and she held out a sealed letter, which was snatched promptly as the older woman strode rapidly to them. She ripped open the letter, her face tightening in irritation. She glared out at the class with uncharacteristic heat for an Aes Sedai, "This must be dealt with now, but I will be back, and I expect you all to be here. You two." Her voice, implacable as winter in the Borderlands, nailed the retreating Accepteds' feet to the floor as if by the Power. "You will teach," her eyes narrowed, "now."

And with that she swirled past them out of the room.