back to Library
There was a knock at Kyriaís door and Reile
Sedai, her mentor, entered. "It is time, Kyria are you ready?"
Kyria smiled tentatively and stepped towards the door. She slipped her
small cold hand into Reileís warm one and her mentor gave it a
reassuring squeeze. "It will not be easy, but you are a strong girl
and I have every confidence in you." They made their way deeper and
deeper into the Tower until they reached a pair of large, wooden doors.
Reile pushed the doors open easily and Kyria saw a huge domed chamber that
looked as though it had been carved into the rock. The room was lit by
soft lamplight and her eyes locked on the three silver rings linked
together in the center of the room. Where the rings met an Aes Sedai sat
cross-legged on the ground, focused on the rings. Reile had joined
Lauralina Sedai and Dallah Sedai and once she settled a glow of Saidar
surrounded all three women and an answering glow grew in the TeríAngreal.
Kyria felt a soft touch on her arm and turned to face Phrygiana Sedai, the
Mistress of Novices. "Each girl who faces this test is given three
chances. You can refuse to start twice but should you refuse a third time
you will be put out of the Tower forever. Once you begin you must go on to
the end. If you refuse at any point you will be put out of the Tower. Do
you understand? Kyria nodded and then remembering what Reile had told her
on the way down, she slipped her dress and shift off. The floor was cold
under her bare feet and she shivered slightly. She followed Phrygiana to
where Karana Sedai was standing beside a small table with three silver
chalices upon it. Karanaís face was serious as she spoke
"Whom do you bring with you, Sister?"
"One who comes as a candidate for Acceptance, Sister," replied
"Is she ready?"
"She is ready to leave behind what she was, and passing through her
fears, gain Acceptance."
"Does she know her fears?"
"She has never faced them, but now is willing."
"Then let her face what she fears."
Phrygiana turned to Kyria, "The first time is for what is. The way
back will come but once. Be steadfast." Kyria took a deep breath and
stepped through the first glowing arch and the light surrounded her and
swallowed her utterly.
She looked around her motherís kitchen. Her parents were regarding her
with a mixture of anger, pride and sympathy. "You donít have to do
this, my daughter. We will find another way." Her fatherís voice
wavered as he spoke and a lump rose in Kyriaís throat. "We have
been through this, Pa and there is no other way to ensure that Brandyl is
released. Davin knows what he is doing." There was a loud knock at
the door and Kyria grabbed her cloak as she made her way through the hall
to answer it. She squared her shoulders and lifted her chin before pulling
the door open. The smug smile on Davinís face made her stomach clench
and it took all her self-restraint not to launch herself at him and claw
his face with her fingernails. She forced her hands to relax and turned to
look at her parentís one last time. They were both crying but she could
find no words to comfort them. She felt hollow inside. How had things come
to this? Kyria had realized quite quickly that Davin was a weak-minded,
vicious man but he had determined he would have Kyria as his wife. Her
eldest brother, Brandyl, had been goaded into attacking Davin, who came
from a family of much great power and rank than House Morant, and had been
imprisoned as a result. The memory of Davin grinning in triumph as he
promised her Brandylís freedom as a wedding gift was seared into her
mind and she shuddered. Davin boosted her up onto his horse and climbed up
behind her. They rode through the streets of Cairhien to his fatherís
estates and Kyria swallowed convulsively in an effort not to be sick as
they approached the gates. His family were gathered for the wedding
ceremony but the only attendant for Kyria was Brandyl, standing alone with
his hands tightly bound. She stood before the official who was there to
conduct the service and she bit her lip hard, swearing to herself that the
man beside her would never see her cry. The service began but Kyria barely
heard a word. A shining archway appeared behind the official and a voice
whispered "The way back will come back once. Be steadfast."
Instinctively, she stepped towards the glowing arch. "No Kyria! You
will never escape me." Davin yelled as he reached for her arm but she
evaded his grasp and took another step forward. "I will kill him if
you leave me. You are mine and I will have you for my wife!" She
looked back over her shoulder and Davin had a dagger pressed to her
brothersí throat. "Light, Brandyl, no.." Kyria turned back. "Be
steadfast." "Iím sorry," she said softly and ran
towards the light. As the glow enveloped her she heard he brother scream
in agony and Davinís mad laughter filled her brain.
Kyria staggered through the arch, retching and sobbing. A flow of icy cold
water was poured over her head as Karana spoke "You are washed clean
of what sin you may have done, and of those done against you. You are
washed clean of what crime you may have committed, and of those committed
against you. You come to us washed clean and pure, in heart and
soul." Kyriaís sobs subsided as the water flowed over her and she
looked at Phrygiana who smiled with some sympathy as she led Kyria to the
next ring. "The second time is for what is. The way back will come
but once. Be steadfast." Kyria forced her feet to move and she
stepped into the blinding light.
She looked down, relieved to see pale gray silk, for a fleeting moment she
had thought she was naked. A ridiculous idea that just went to show how
nervous she was. This was her first negotiation alone and she was
determined it would be settled successfully. It would be fairly
straightforward, the two parties were quietly resolved to settle matters
but Kyria had to ensure neither side lost face. She took a deep breath and
the mask of composure settled over her face. Forcing her hands to relax,
she stepped through the door into the meeting room. The two parties were
eyeing each other warily across the table. She took her seat at the head
of the table and clasped her hands together lightly. "Gentlemen, we
have discussed this matter separately and you are aware of each others
stance." The two men facing each other nodded once and Kyria resisted
licking her dry lips nervously. These were two of the most powerful Lords
in Tear and their feud was legendary. If they did not agree today, they
could plunge the entire nation into a bitter and bloody civil war.
"Lord Harren, you have offered to yield the disputed land,"
Kyria paused and the stout man ran a hand through his greying hair before
muttering his assent. "In return, Lord Merck you will pay 500 gold
crowns a year for the next five years and will have free access across the
land to his estates. In addition you have agreed to wed your only daughter
to Lord Harrenís son, Glynen." The words were barely from Kyriaís
lips when Lord Merck slammed his fist onto the table and roared in fury,
"You said it would be the elder son, Antin! Why would I marry my only
heir to the youngest son of this greedy dog? Did you think I am so stupid
I would let you steal my lands without surrendering anything in return??
Equal rule over both our estates you said, Kyria Sedai! You have taken the
side of this devious snake." Merckís face was flushed with rage as
he fumbled for his sword. Lord Harren drew his own blade and the two men
faced each other with naked hatred burning in their eyes. An archway
filled with golden light appeared next to the table as Kyria gasped in
horror at the scene before her. "The way back will come but once.
Be steadfast. "She had said the wrong name! How could she have
made such a stupid mistake? "Gentlemen, hold your swords I beg you. I
have made a mistake but we can resolve thisÖ" her voice trailed off
as Harren slashed at Merck and a line of red appeared on the Lordís
cheek. The men who had escorted the lords drew their weapons and attacked
each other. Kyria slumped into her chair, she had failed utterly. Be
steadfast" In a desperate bid to escape the bloodshed before her,
she flung herself through the white arch and the light scoured her.
She dropped to her knees in the domed hall and shuddered "All those
deaths, I have destroyed the peace of a nation," she croaked. A
stream of cold water roused her and Karana spoke in a clear voice.
"You are washed clean of false pride. You are washed clean of false
ambition. You come to us washed clean, in heart and soul." Kyria
forced herself to stand although she wanted nothing more than to curl into
a ball and cry until the end of time. Phrygiana smoothed her hair from her
forehead. "One more, child and it is done." Kyria bit her lip
and nodded. She would not fail; she wanted that serpent ring too much to
turn away now. "The third time is for what will be. The way back will
come but once. Be steadfast." Kyria stepped through the final arch
and the light devoured her.
Kyria stretched and opened her eyes. The man in her bed still slept and
she smoothed a finger down his tanned cheek. There were lines on his face
and his hair was liberally flecked with gray. His still firm body was
marked with nicks and scars, each one gained to protect her. His eyes
flicked open and he smiled at her. Even after twenty years together, Aes
Sedai and Warder, lovers, friends, Kyria still felt a thrill when their
eyes met. They came together in a warm embrace and kissed softly. The door
burst inwards and Kamal rolled from the bed, his sword in his hand. There
were more than a dozen fully armed young soldiers filling the doorway.
"Take him," a harsh female voice spoke from beyond the room and
the young men eyed the naked Warder warily. Kamal smiled without humor and
turned his sword once in his hand. It was a reflex action she had seen a
thousand times. Kyria reached for the source, ready to defend them both
and suppressed a whimper of fear when she hit a solid wall between her and
Saidar. "I am shielded, Kamal," she spoke quietly, determined to
keep her voice steady. Her Warder grunted and stepped towards the
soldiers. Kyria scrambled from the bed and grabbed a pair of daggers from
where Kamalís kit lay. She joined him as naked and uncaring as her
Warder, as he faced the young men. Over the years, Kamal had taught her to
fight with knives and even with her hands and feet a little. She was
shielded, but not defenseless. The attack was swift and savage and five of
the soldiers lay dead before Kyria felt a blade at her throat. Kamal froze
and lowered his bloody sword. He was bleeding from several shallow wounds,
but he barely seemed to register them. His entire focus was on Kyria and
she flinched as a soldier clubbed him to his knees and bound him tightly.
The pressure of the sword was removed from her throat and she struck,
plunging her dagger into the guard who staggered back clutching the knife
in his throat. Her arms were pulled roughly behind her back and held
there. Kamal was smiling at her proudly and her heart swelled. "My
little lioness," he said as though they were the only two in the
room. Kyria laughed, it was a name he had given her when they had first
met - she a Novice and he a Ward in training. A harsh voice cut across her
thoughts and her attention was drawn to the tall, plain woman in the
doorway. "Elsbeth? No, I donít believe it." Kyria threw all
her mental strength at the shield the tall woman held over her. "I
donít understand we are friends. Why would you attack us like
this?" The tall woman bared her teeth, "Friends? I hate you
Kyria Morant. You with your pretty face and easy manner. Taking pity on
the shy, ugly girl, letting me bask in your reflective glory. You have
patronized me for the last time. Once you are stilled and returned to the
Tower in disgrace, I will become the Kingís advisor." A gleam of
triumph sparked in the other womanís face as Elsbeth stepped up to Kamal
and stroked his cheek. "You shouldíve taken me to your bed when I
asked," she said, bitterness and longing filling her voice. "I
was sworn to my Kyria before you ever joined the Tower, Elsbeth
Sedai. Even had I not been, I could never have accepted your offer."
The plain woman struck him hard across the mouth. A glowing archway
appeared in the wall and Kyria felt drawn towards it. "The way
back will come but once. Be steadfast." Elsbeth turned to her
"You will pass your bond to me, before you are stilled. That is the
only way your pet wolf here will live." She grabbed the knife that
Kyria had dropped and held it to Kamalís chest. "Choose now, will
he live or die for your pride?" The hatred twisted the womanís face
into a mask and sickened Kyria, but she could not force herself to move.
Kamal suddenly reared back and plunged himself onto the dagger held at his
chest. His eyes were locked onto Kyriaís face and she felt his death
echo through their bond. She stepped towards him and the glowing arch
caught her eye again. With a scream of rage and pain she flung herself
through the arch and the light consumed her.
She staggered from the archway into the hall and Phrygiana caught her
before she collapsed. The pain and loss engulfed her, threatening to rip
her mind to shreds. A flood of cold water was poured over her, washing the
pain away. "You are washed clean of Kyria Morant from Cairhien. You
are washed clean of all ties that bind you to the world. You come to us
washed clean, in heart and soul. You are Kyria Morant, Accepted of the
White Tower." Kyria was startled to hear a voice other than Karana
and she gazed in awe at the Amyrlin Seat as she emptied the final drop of
water onto her head and said "You are sealed to us, now." The
glow from the TeríAngreal faded and Reile, Dallah and Lauralina stepped
forward to witness as Kyria held out her left hand and the Amyrlin slipped
the serpent ring onto her third finger. The Amyrlin leaned forward and
kissed Kyria on either cheek "Welcome, Daughter." Kyria thought
her heart would burst with pride at those words. Reile rubbed her hair
with a towel as Phrygiana held out a white woolen dress banded at hem and
cuffs with the seven stripes of color to represent each Ajah. She slipped
the dress over head and hugged her mentor close "Thank you Reile
Sedai. I could not have made it this far without your love and
support." The other Aes Sedai kissed Kyria and offered words of
congratulations before Phyrgiana took her arm "Weíd better get you
moved into your new room then, Accepted." Kyria smiled broadly and
hid the pain of the arches deep in her heart. She would deal with that
It was late at night, and Rinoa was tucking some
old letters back into her desk. It was the third time she refiled those
letters back into her desk. She had a habit of rereading bad news.. She
picked up her large hairbrush and did her nightly routine. Brushing her
hair, one hundred strokes. Rin could have gone to sleep early, but she
didn't feel like it, her legs ached and told her that it was time to
sleep, but she continued brushing her hair out of habit. Yawning as she
brushed, her jaws cracked and told her to sleep. She dozed off, right on
her desk with the brush in her hand.
An hour passed and the door burst open, banging against the far wall.
Phrygiana, the head of the Gray Ajah, The Mistress of Novices AND her
mentor walked in, her face was dark and her eyes bored into her. Fear
floated in the corner of Rinoa's mind, but she was too tired and dazed to
know if she was dreaming. Blinking and rubbing her eyes, all that came out
of her mouth was "wha.. huh?" Realizing it was not a dream,
Rinoa stuttered "Phrygiana Sedd...ai?" as she teetered about,
trying to get out of her small desk and chair, falling backwards and
banging her head on the ground. "itaaaahh" she breathed as she
scrambled up to curtsy, losing her balance yet again. She felt Phryg's
hand on her head and delving her to check if it was serious.
"Just a bruise, come child, hurry up and fix yourself. Follow
me.", Phryg already began walking out of the room. "Yes,
Phrygiana..?" Rinoa intoned it as a question, rubbing her head in a
half curtsy but Phrygiana was already out of the room, as though they were
late for something. Rinoa was sure she didn't forget to finish off her
chores, there couldn't be anything left for her to do at this
hour...unless.. is this more punishment for that midnight outing?
She remembered the same thing happening to Tovah recently, Phryg came into
her quarters and Tovah was escorted somewhere without a word... when she
came back she distanced herself from the rest of her friends for a week. Must
be, it happened to Chalinda and Saarah too.. Rin thought to herself
and remembered what happened after that, the girls had become Accepted and
they had changed. They were much different, more serious, and more
sensitive to minor things, she hoped it was her imagination or just that
it was because they were older and more mature than her. Rinoa looked at
Phryg's back, worrying and a knot began to form in her stomach. She didn't
feel ready yet, and she was too tired. Rin waited for openings to ask
Phryg where they were going, but Phryg continued the trip down into the
depths of the White Tower without a pause to look back.
They went down past the basement of the Tower it seemed, it was so dark
and deep and unlit that Rinoa couldn't believe such a place existed,
especially since upstairs was so bright and well furnished. Rinoa began
murmuring about the place to herself, trying to reassure herself she
wasn't alone, that maybe it did have to do with that midnight outing when
they were in the basement. Phrygiana then sternly instructed her not to
speak and she clamped her mouth shut immediately. Phryg stopped at a large
door, Rinoa thought she saw Phryg smiling as she went in and Phryg shut
the door behind them.
The knot in Rinoa's stomach loosened a little because of that smile but it
tightened even more when she saw the inside of the room. It was a large
domed place, the walls were a smooth stone different from the Tower.
Though it was just as unusual as the rest of the Tower. Tall lamps kept
the room well lit and the light reflected off the walls as well. The
center of the room had a strange object, three tall, rounded silver
arches. It was all one piece somehow, and she couldn't fathom how it was
made. They looked like doorways and Rin tried to sneak a look at what was
through them but nothing seemed to be there, though a hazy reflection of
what was behind showed. Rin tried not to look too long as it made her
dizzied. She now was sure it was the ceremony for going through a
ter'angreal to become Accepted.
There were Aes Sedai sitting around the ring at certain points, facing it
and staring at it intently. To them nothing else mattered, it seemed. When
Rinoa took a look at everyone in the room, they all were dressed formally,
their shawls representing their respective Ajahs were worn. She recognized
some Ajah heads and suddenly felt their eyes pressing on her, weighing her
down. Avoiding their eyes, she saw a table with large silver cups, she
licked her lips wondering if she'd get a drink or something... Fool
girl! You do be thinking about food at a time like this! Don't you
remember? It does be the three chalices! Rin's mind seemed to argue
with itself as of late.
Rinoa unconsciously brushed her hair behind her shoulder and started
pulling at her Novice dress. The wrinkles would not go away. She felt out
of place with all those Aes Sedai dressed for a formal event while her
dress, face and hair was in shambles. Rinoa felt the need to ask Phryg
something, anything, if it was gonna hurt, or if she could take a nap
before going through this, how safe it was, or if she could get a drink..
her thoughts drifted, she tried to find excuses to hide that she was
scared but felt compelled to do this. She needed to do this, she wanted to
become Aes Sedai so much. She hadn't realized she muttered her questions
until Phryg started speaking in a low voice to her.
Phryg reminded her of the ceremony, "You will have three chances. You
may refuse twice to take this test, but if you refuse the third time, you
will be sent away from the Tower and never allowed back." Rinoa's
mind started wondering, whatever happened to women who were no allowed
back? If they could channel and were trained, were they really just let
loose like that? Rinoa tried to voice the question and parted her lips
to speak but all that came out was "Yes, Phrygiana Sedai." She
couldn't believe she said it.
Phryg began to explain, the seriousness of the situation slowly sank into
Rinoa's mind " I will tell you two things no woman hears until she is
in this room. The first is this. Once you begin, you must continue to the
end. Refuse to go on, and you will be put out of the Tower. Second. To
seek, to strive, is to know danger." Rinoa gulped, she wasn't sure
what this could mean, though she was familiar with the speech.
"Some women have entered, and never come out. When the ter'angreal
was allowed to grow quiet, they were not there and never seen again."
Rinoa felt like she would heave any second now. This does be madness!
They let this ter'angreal thing just eat people up?! Her eyes were
ready to pop out of her head, Phryg noticed but continued. " To
survive, you must be steadfast. Falter, fail and..." Phryg trailed
off, Rinoa voiced her question quietly, "..die? this be real?"
Phryg's voice and expression was unchanged as she continued. "The
worlds behind the arches are images of this world, they depict worlds that
could be. Perhaps the women who never came back were tempted by what the
arches had for them in the other world, and wanted to stay there rather
than return to the world that we know." Rinoa nodded.
"This is your last chance. You may turn back now, and it counts as
only the first. You may still try twice more. If you accept now, there is
no turning back. There is no shame in refusal. Many women have turned it
down, their first times. Choose." Rinoa thought about her friends
going through, thought about the dangers it's not real, is it? She
didn't give me a straight answer though.. then thought about becoming
Aes Sedai. More than anything, she wanted to become one. She imagined she
could become Aes Sedai and serve the world as best she can, if she was not
good enough to, she wanted to find out here and now. "I do be
ready." Rinoa mumbled, not as loud as she would have, but her nerves
were wracked with fear of being eaten by the thing.
Phryg then walked into the room slowly as Rinoa followed.
"Whom do you bring with you, Sister?" a loud and formal voice
rang. Rinoa was surprised by something cutting the silence and looked
about, her eyes scanning the room. It seemed normal to them, and the Aes
Sedai around the ter'angreal were undisturbed.
"One who comes as a candidate for Acceptance, Sister," Phrygiana
replied in formal tones.
"Is she ready?" the Sister of the Red Ajah asked in the same
"She is ready to leave behind what she was, and, passing through her
fears, gain Acceptance."
"Does she know her fears?"
"She has never faced them, but now is willing."
"Then let her face what she fears." Rinoa sensed something in
the woman's manner of speech, something that reminded her of her mother'
scolding and didn't like it. The voice was somewhat similar to... but she
shrugged it off. She glanced at the Red Sister one more time noticing her
face, it looked somewhat... her mind lost the thought as she followed
Phryg who stopped right before the first arch. Rinoa knew what she had to
do and warily removed her Novice whites, slippers and stockings, she
folded it so that Squall's ring and the chain wouldn't fall out of the
pocket in case someone picked it up. Worrying about that in a time like
this!? Rinoa's mind argued with itself yet again as she straightened
up and took a large breath.
Phryg spoke again, "The first time is for what was. The way back will
come but once. Be steadfast."
Be steadfast. Comes but once. Rinoa held onto those important
thoughts, the only thoughts in her mind and she focused as hard as she
could. She literally jumped though the first arch. Air diffused with light
swallowed her up and she felt a lightness to herself, she closed her eyes
at it's brightness and opened them to find herself lying on her back in a
Oddly, the thought of this not being real became a joke to her. She
laughed to herself like she was mad, rolling in the field and picking up
flowers. She put a few of her favorites into her hair and stood up. The
breeze blew more flower petals across her face and around the land. She
also smelled sea foam in the air. Home. Rinoa couldn't be happier
to be in Illian.
Rinoa shut her eyes, and breathed in the air. This is real. It can't be
just an image.. It cant be.. I hear the ocean down there and.. her own
thoughts were interrupted though, The way back will come but once.
, Phryg's voice echoed in her mind and she frowned at that. "Phrygiana
Sedai?" the words felt new in her mouth as she spoke it to herself.
A voice not far from her, but muted by the crashing waves off in the
distance and the wind called at her. "Rinoa?" "Rinoa!"
"Rinoa!!!" it continued calling at her until she looked.
"Wake up, you jest of a girl! Do not mess my flowers! I'll not have
it! Get up and start pruning!" Mother. Rinoa cringed as the
nagging, continued complaining and barking of orders to fix the flowers
droned in her ears. Something was different from usual. Rinoa looked at
her mother again, a glow surrounded her. A sort of halo, it made her as
bright as the sun. I know that glow. That's.. Rin shrugged her
shoulders and ignored that for the time being. Her duty was to help her
mother's gardening. Pull out this weed, cut off those dead branches...
Sweat beaded on her forehead as she worked, hours passed it seemed, or was
it a few minutes? She wasn't sure and she didn't care. All the gardeners
were working in different parts of the fields too. "These flowers,
they only grow in Shienar. In the winter, how.." Rin's question
trailed off as she realized nobody would answer. She was excited about
something happening that night, dinner, or some such, it was her parents
meeting Squall for the first time. Oh yes, that's it. She thought
to herself as she continued gardening. That one's no good.. Rinoa's
mind was concentrated on her work now. She looked around herself, as far
as she could, before she replaced her gloves. She wasn't sure what she was
looking for anymore, and continued her work.
Rinoa stole another look at her mother during a short break where she
wiped her brow, for some odd reason she knew her mother was tired and she
stopped gardening. Rinoa decided to stop too. The glow had winked out and
her mother was heading back home. How does she get so many flowers
growing like that? Rinoa looked at her work, a mess of flowers half
grown, weeds all over the place. While her mother's patches were a
thousand times as bright, full bloomed and dancing with the breeze.
The sun showed that it was late in the afternoon and Rin also went inside.
She changed and washed herself up, taking care to make herself as
attractive as possible. She sat in front of her dresser as she always
would and looked in the mirror as she combed her hair, one hundred
strokes she froze and stared at herself in the mirror.
"What...why am I here?" that reflection of herself seemed wrong.
She looked well slept, but she felt tired inside. "I have no slept
for two days, I am sure I haven't." Be steadfast her own voice
echoed at her and she looked around the room.
The next thing she knew, she was seeing things in the mirror, or was
seeing what really was. Herself, tired, bleary eyed, hair messed, and in
the.. nude..? Rinoa covered herself with her dress but it did nothing to
the reflection of herself, standing there on the other side. Fortune
prick m.... Rinoa couldn't stop the reflection from following her. Her
skin crawled at the sight of it, of her. Rinoa took one last look and
punched at it with her bare fist. "Stop it!" A small crack
formed but the girl that was herself was still there, behind and lurking,
she jabbed again. The pain was real. "What is real?" she
screamed at herself, someone, the reflection, whoever heard heard and she
didn't care. She pounded at the mirror with her good arm yet again, her
right hand spilling blood all over the dresser, the pain was real and
tears fell down her face dripping onto the dress she saw and felt and
believed was real. She continued her pounding against the face of her own
haunting her "Go away!" she wailed until she was out of breath,
and at one last blow the whole mirror was in shattered bits all around the
Rinoa stepped back from the dresser watching the shattered glass intently,
expecting for it to jump at her. When she was satisfied she sat at her
bed, shuddering. Her eyes stared blankly out the window, drawn to it, her
breaths were uneven, and her head became lighter. Blood was all over the
room and she heard heavy footsteps thudding up the stairs. Once Squall
came in side he screamed at her "Blood and ashes! What
happened?" Rinoa didn't pay attention to his voice, it sounded hollow
and distant. Her mind was losing coherent thought and she was floating
now. Her field of vision narrowed and all he saw was his worried face
looking at her arm and examining it until it winked out into blackness.
The way out will come but once. a voice said to her, she wasn't
sure if it was her own. Be silent. I'm trying to sleep. another
voice. You do want to become Aes Sedai, don't you? the voices began
overlapping. Fool girl arguing with each other. I want a drink
they never ended. My necklace is.. they just continued. Will it
hurt? on top of each other. She is ready to leave behind what she
was. Rinoa knew that voice. Phrygiana Sedai?
Cold rushed through her, her right hand felt ice moving through it's
veins. She felt warm but shivered with both the fear and the feeling of
something. This is Healing?
Waking up, she felt a hand moving through her hair. It was brushing her
hair. She began to count it out of habit. "thirty five" she
murmured, and the hand stopped for a second and started again. I must
go somewhere. Away from here. To become Accepted. The ter'angreal is
waiting for me somewhere. she remembered her task again.
Her hand was wrapped up but no blood stained her clothing and only the
pain of broken bones was left inside her. Senses returned to her slowly
and the soft low humming of a voice soothed her. She turned in her rest to
see Squall staring off at something while he continued his humming.
"This is wrong. I have to go." Squall looked down at her as
though she was delirious, but she knew she was not. She was focused now.
She tried to be, at least. It was hard to disagree to those eyes without
losing herself. He spoke quietly "You have to tell your mother first,
and why did you do that to your mirror? What has gotten into you? Are you
sick, like she is?"
"She be sick again?" Rin picked herself up from his lap and
stood, only to fall back on her knees. Pain shot up her right arm and she
stifled a scream, letting only the sound of her exhale loudly through
clenched teeth. She got up with his help and began looking out her room's
window, it seemed a day had passed. "Yes, she's sick." Squall
answered. But she felt tired still, minutes, it only felt like minutes
had passed since.. since what? What am I looking for? Something in the
distance shined, as bright as the sun's reflection on any surface could
be. "There." She said it to herself but Squall had heard.
"What's there? I don't see anything. You need some rest. You are
sick." He spoke to her as though she was a child, or she had gone
mad. Rinoa knew she had to rest, but she couldn't have it now. "Not
now," she muttered to herself. Squall's face creased with worry at
her ramblings. "Both you and your mother need rest, lots of it. You
can't go out right now. Besides, a storm is coming", to prove his
point, thunder rumbled in the distance.
Rinoa looked at the clouds, many miles away, "But it will no come for
a while. No for a while yet. I have to go." Squall tried to lead her
back to her chair but she pushed him away, weakly. "I have to
go!" her voice cracked. She looked wistfully out the window.
"Focus, burn you! It does come only but once! Why, why must it be so
far away!" Rinoa spoke to herself, she didn't care if she seemed mad
now, she had to focus, she had to go there. "I have to, have to go
there." Something more important than anything else to her was on
it's other side, waiting.
Rinoa stumbled down the steps in her house, panting and barely keeping
herself upright. Maids brushed out of her way, toppling large trays as
they dodged her. All the clanging and shouting in the house seemed to blur
away when she turned. Everything seemed to reduce itself to blurs wherever
she turned. She stopped and observed that oddity. Is it real?
Looking for the silver arches from her front porch she spotted it to the
west, it seemed miles away, a small beacon shining for her. It's changing
reflection called out to her. Be steadfast. Phryg's voice guided
her as she looked around slowly. "None of this be real." Only
now she noticed that blurring at her peripheral vision, whenever she
turned quickly, it was as though the world around her needed time to
render itself. Shaking her head she ran and ran toward it, stumbling upon
her mother's flowers.
A scream from inside her house shocked her. No, not that. Rinoa
cringed as she remembered her mother's sicknesses, they became frequent as
of late. She'd be screaming all night, tired from the pain. Squall burst
out of her house looking in her direction. "Where are you
going?" he shouted at her, then even more loudly, "Where are you
going?" he called out as he ran to her. She tried to run to the
arches, but knew he'd catch up sooner or later at her pace. "I was
going to tell you. Your mother is sick again, its much worse than
before." Rinoa kept looking at the arches as he spoke, then at him,
then at the house. She tried to make a run for it again and was caught by
his arms. She flailed at it but there was no strength left in her to budge
him. Suddenly she felt hunger, the hunger of days without eating, but she
knew she had eaten recently, or thought she did. And tired, so tired.
Tears welled up in her eyes "Let me go, please... Please!",
Squall still insisted "Don't you care about her?" he gestured
with his head to the house. "She wanted to see you once you were
awake. To check your arm, at least. She's sick in bed while you want to
run off in the fields and wreck your room!? What's the matter with you?
When will you ever grow up?" Rinoa kept tugging wordlessly to go.
Another scream rattled at her bones, it was so loud, and to her ears it
was deafening. Squall let go to start off in the direction of the house
then stopped as a deep rumble, from somewhere, grew louder. He looked
around warily and started back in Rinoa's direction. Thunderstorm?
There no be clouds here but.. Taking the opportunity, Rin ran as fast
as she could, but the earth moved against her. She scrambled, weak in the
knees and her eyes on the arches. "I will be steadfast! I be
coming!" she shouted to anyone on the other side. It was not her
imagination though, the earth heaved in front of her as it lifted her high
up in the air and dropped her back to the ground. "Aaagh!" Rinoa
screamed in agony, the pain in her arm intensified a thousand times when
she landed on it. The earth was rippling like water, I must have been
more than thirty feet in the air..
She turned back to her house, what she knew only looked like her house..
Maids and workers she knew were rushing out of it. Squall lay overturned
in the fields, a mound that didn't move, he wasn't breathing at all. Rinoa
started to walk towards him. The way out! Rinoa staggered, walking
in one direction then the other... she couldn't decide. Tears stung her
eyes "No! Why now? Not him! What kind of nightmare does this
be?" Rinoa slowly turned away from his direction and ran as fast as
The air was suddenly very still as she heard something coming to her from
behind. "Earthquakes are nothing like," she muttered to herself
but was cut off as the earth heaved again beneath her. This time she kept
still and grabbed tufts of flowers and grass, her nails being filled with
dirt as it raised her up into the air. Preparing herself for the earth to
drop again, she ran a few steps and leaped as it began dropping.
She didn't know how long those arches would wait for her, but she
continued running in this fashion, stopping to hold and going again.
Squall never moved whenever she looked back and people were still leaving
her house. The arches began flickering, as though they threatened to
disappear. "Do no disappear just yet!" Rinoa screamed at it as
she took one last look behind, clamped her eyes shut and leapt through
with the last of her strength.
Rinoa found herself skidding to a halt back inside the large room in the
White Tower. She stifled a sob as she remembered what happened and gulped
the hurt down. No.. no.. it was not real, was not.. but why can't the
Aes Sedai just say its not bloody real? Not real at all! She shivered
as cold water was poured over her head from a large silver cup. She bit
back at her pain, held her face straight and clenched her teeth and fists.
With a start she realized she wasn't dirty, as she was when in the
ter'angreal. It gave her some comfort, that whatever existed there, stayed
there. Her arm also was well again. She turned to look back at the
ter'angreal, it was the same as before.
"You are washed clean," the Red's voice said, "of what sin
you may have done, and of those done against you. You are washed clean of
what crime you may have committed, and of those committed against you. You
come to us clean and pure, in heart and soul." Shivering, Rinoa
lifted her head to look at the Red sister with her teeth clenched to stay
still. They were the same height and she suddenly realized it may seem as
though she was glaring. She couldn't help it, her instincts made her feel
it was like her mother punishing her, but this woman was not her mother at