The End of the Truce

Waking up early next morning, Melana sleepily rubs her eyes. Suddenly she remembers that the truce is over, and looks suspiciously around the room, but everything seems normal. She gets out of bed, freshens up a bit, and quickly dresses. As she combs her hair she makes a mental note to have Rebekah return her mirror; it gets a bit tedious not being able to actually see what youíre doing when you try to style your hair. Laughing quietly, sheís thinking about yesterdayís accomplishments. "Hmmm, I hope Minerva has had enough time to calm down now," she says to no-one in particular. She fusses some more with her very annoying hair, before she frustrated gives up on it. "Well I better see if Nala is doing alright before I leave for breakfast," she says, walking over to where her kitten is resting in a basket. Approaching the basket, she notices that something isnít quite right. As she realizes what sheís looking at, she gasps, then she shouts, "REBEKAH" so loudly that it could raise the dead from their graves. She stalks towards the door, a look of fury on her face, rips the door open and steps through. A weave is triggered by the movement, but in her anger she merely notices. Unaware that she looks like she havenít bathed for days and that it seems sheís wearing a sackcloth instead of a dress, she walks over to Rebekahís rooms, opens the door and enters.

Rebekah, who is standing with her back to the door looking out the window, turns. She immediately starts to giggle when she sees Melana and the little snarling trolloc following her. "Rebekah, how could you do that to my Nala?" They look at the mini-trolloc who is trying to chew her leg off though not really succeeding with those small teeth. "She looks...horrible to say the least," "Ahh, but she served her purpose," Rebekah answers cryptically as she embraces the power. Soon Nala is looking like her old self again. Taking the kitten in her arms, Melana glares at Rebekah and sniffs, then walks out and back to her own rooms, placing the kitten in its basket. She can still hear Rebekah laughing. When she returns to the outer rooms of the blue quarters, Rebekah is sitting there waiting. "Shall we go get some breakfast then?" Rebekah asks, a sombre look on her face. Looking suspiciously at her, Melana only nods.

As they walk through the halls of the Tower, Melana notices that a lot of people turn to look at them, mouths hanging open. On their way, they meet Janos, and he looks kinda dumbfounded too, but remembering Melanaís temper the day before, he refrains from saying anything. He just follows silently along, and is very busy studying the floor beneath his feet, his face going kinda purple. As they walk along the last corridor, they see something very red moving rapidly towards them, surrounded by a glowing nimbus. "Light, itís Minerva," Melana whispers, hiding behind Janos, "And she doesnít seem to be the slightest calmed down..." "Well, Iím outta here!" Janos says, and she glares after him as he abandons her, -she can hear him mutter something about not putting himself between the rock and the hard place until heís a proper Warder. In the meantime, Rebekah has slipped over to one of the darker parts of the corridor, and Melana finds that sheís standing there all alone, the red hurricane swiftly descending on her. Trying to embrace the Power just to feel a tiny bit safer, she notices that thereís something blocking her from the Source. She swallows hard and awaits the explosion that is surely to come. Minerva quickly closes the distance, smiling wickedly. But suddenly she blinks and then she starts laughing; a really unusual sound to hear. "Oh Light, you look dreadful Melana, have you ever heard of a warm bath and a comb? I think you need them both!" Melana only stares at her with a confused look on her face. Minerva, all her anger vanished, leaves giggling, while a group of Novices and Accepted canít decide whether to look incredulously at Minerva Sedai or Melana Sedai. Looking questioningly at Rebekah, who has decided that itís safe to show herself again, Melana asks; "Now Rebekah, do you care to tell me what that weave outside my door really was?" Rebekah looks at her innocently, but not quite pulling it off with that big grin covering most of her face. "Which of them?" she asks before she hurries off, leaving Melana as puzzled as ever.

Letting go of Melana's shield as she abandon's her to spend the rest of the day wondering what has happened to her, Rebekah hurries off to grab a quick bite before heading to the Novice halls where she must teach an introductory class to some of the newer girls. "Blood and ashes, I am going to be late if I go get breakfast. Oh well, it was well worth it to see Melana like that." Laughing softly to herself she looks over her shoulder to where Melana was standing, but Melana has disappeared. Just then, she runs directly into something, and spins to see the Amyrlin on the ground. "Mother, I am very sorry, I didn't see you." Helping her to her feet, Rebekah tries to go around the Amyrlin, but she moves to block Rebekah's path. "Child, we need to have a talk." Rebekah blinks at being called a child again, but tries not to dwell on it. "I have seen Melana Sedai in many awkward outfits in these past few days, and I know who to look to for the cause of it. You are Aes Sedai now, and must act like it. I cannot have full sisters acting like silly novices. It wouldn't look right to others in the tower. You are supposed to be setting an example." On and on the scolding goes, until Rebekah is left gaping, red cheeked and extremely late for her class. "Mother, I understand, and will stop the pranks. But if you'll excuse me, I am going to be late."

Rebekah hurries off to the novice hall, trying to forget about her scolding. Actually she is paying so much attention to forgetting, that she completely misses someone behind her calling her name. Someone grabs her shoulder, and she whirls around, becoming face to face with Minerva Sedai. Muttering something about her terrible luck, she speaks up to address Minerva. "What can I do for you Minerva?" A wicked smile appears on Minerva's face before she speaks. "Well, first of all, you can stop with your pranks. I saw Melana today, and it seems she is not the one to blame for everything that is going on. Apparently she is just another victim of your vicious pranks." Rebekah tries to break in to say that Melana was giving as good as she got, but Minerva won't let her get a word in. "It is completely irresponsible, and I will see that you are publicly humiliated like I was yesterday with scrubbing pots and pans until you regret the day your mother kissed your father. And if the Amyrlin thinks that her warning is enough, I will see to it myself. Melana might soon be getting a Warder to protect her, but you haven't one." Suddenly something dawns on Rebekah. "Minerva, how did you know about the Amyrlin warning me?" "Err, I umm.. I.. overheard?" "And Minerva, how did you know about Melana getting bonded? It isn't public knowledge." "Errr.. I.. I could have overheard that too!" Rebekah sighs with frustration, and a nimbus suddenly surrounds "Minerva". Channeling, Melana reappears, and Rebekah giggles freshly at the site of her. "Do you realize how late you've made me? I should have known; the Amyrlin would never be against pranks... And Melana, you really should go fix that." Getting that last laugh, Rebekah runs off to teach her novice lessons, leaving Melana with her mouth hanging open. Rebekah takes only a minute to check in the mirror to see if Melana has done anything else. She gasps at what she sees, but decides its okay for now. "After all, blue hair is kind of fun."

Rebekah hurries of to her class, laughing and feeling all good about herself. Entering the classroom, trying hard to regain her serenity, she sweeps the room with a gaze. A lot of startled Novices looks disbelievingly back at her, not being used to see Aes Sedai running around with blue hair. Just as sheís about to begin the lesson, two more Novices scurry in. She looks carefully and suspiciously at them, but they both seem innocent enough, stammering about how the halls confuses them and how they almost got lost, while looking at her with big astonished eyes. After giving them one of the infamous Aes Sedai stares, she motions them to find a seat. Soon they are settled in the back of the room, whispering and giggling. Hiding a smile, Rebekah pretends to ignore them while remembering her own days as a Novice; her face goes slightly pink with the memory of stalking Jakeb. "Well, letís begin, shall we?" she says to the girls, briskly rubbing her hands. "First Iíll teach you a little exercise, after all, you must learn how to walk before you can stumble...err, I mean run." One of the Novices who came in last, raises a hand. "Yes Lori" Rebekah says. "Rebekah Sedai, I think weíve already done that. Do you mean the exercise where we image to be a flower thatís filled with sunlight?" Rebekah nods, and asks the other girls if they have been through it too. They all have, and so she is forced to move on to the next step. "Well then," she says, "I guess weíll try to actually feel the power today." She tells them to go through the exercise and see if they can sense anything. She is startled when she sees a shimmering nimbus surrounding the Novice who arrived with Lori. "I didnít know you had come this far in your should think you had been here longer than just a few days, girl. But I didnít tell you to actually embrace the Source, just to try to feel it. Whatís your name?" "You can call me Ana, Aes Sedai," the Novice says, sounding meekly, though Rebekah suddenly notices a glimpse of mischief in her eyes. "On my way to the Tower, I travelled with an Aes Sedai, and she taught me how to do this." Suddenly a little flame of fire dances on her fingertips, and some of the other Novices stare enviously at her. "Well Ana," Rebekah says, "Now I suggest you let go of the Power." The nimbus still surrounding the girl, she adds; "And since youíre obviously in the need of learning how to obey child, I suggest you visit the Mistress of Novices Study when this class is finished." "Oh, I don't think so Rebekah." the girl answers, an impish smile playing about her lips, and suddenly Rebekah is lifted from the ground with strong flows of air. The other Novices stare at the two, their eyes nearly popping out of their heads. Startled, Rebekah opens herself to embrace the power, but the girl quickly slams a shield between her and the Source. "You didnít think I would actually let you have the last laugh, now, did you?" the girl says while laughing, then she channels again and suddenly Melana is standing there, gazing at Rebekah with a mischievous grin.

Turning to the stunned Novices she says "Today girls, youíll see something youíll probably never see again." Turning back to Rebekah, who now looks a tiny bit desperate, she smiles wickedly. "Now letís see, what to do today? Ahh, I know! Just wait here, Iíll be back soon!" She quickly leaves the classroom, leaving Rebekah floating in midair. Returning, sheís floating a bucket filled with water and a collection of sponges in front of her. Handing out a wet sponge to each of the Novices, failing to notice that one is missing, she grins at Rebekah. "Weíll play a little game girls. Youíll throw the sponges at Rebekah Sedai here, and try to land them right in the middle of her lovely face. My job will be to try to stop the sponges before they hit. And donít worry, you will not be disciplined for participatingÖafter all, this is part of todayís lesson. Shall we begin?" As she makes another weave of air, making sure that Rebekah wonít be able to use her arms, the first sponge flies through the air. Melana does nothing to stop it and as it hits Rebekah with a splashing sound, Melana giggles. "Oh what a pity, thatís one point for you girls." Rebekah, her face growing darker by the second, splutters angrily. Another sponge flies through the air. A few millimetres from Rebekahís face, Melana stops it with another flow of air, giggling. "You should have seen the look on your face now Rebekah, it was priceless!" Rebekah only glares at her. Suddenly the door to the classroom is hurled open, and in comes the Amyrlin trailed by Elyna and the missing novice. Startled, Melana lets go of all the weaves, and Rebekah bumps to the floor. "Mother," Melana says, "I can explain this." Looking around at the Novices, and at Rebekah glaring at her, still wet from the first sponge, she quickly adds; "I think" followed by a nervous laugh. From the corner of an eye she notices that Rebekah has embraced the Power, and at the same time the Amyrlin and the Keeper turns into Moradi and Selendra. Grinning, Rebekah says; "Thanks Sisters, I owe you one!" Selendra and Moradi only laughs, and on their way out again, something can be heard that sounds like "man that was funny" and "silly girls, acting worse than novices." Turning to Rebekah, Melana stares incredulously at her. "I thought this was something between you and me." "Well," Rebekah answers, grinning, "I did warn you that all is fair game." Rebekahís grin turns wicked, and Melana warily backs away, hoping to escape.

Rebekah, glaring furiously at Melana, takes a moment to think, and then begins to channel. "Actually, girls, this should be a great way to teach you a few things," Quickly she forces a shield between Melana and the source. "-since we do have a volunteer. First let me explain that Melana Sedai cannot break my shield, even though she is stronger then me in the power. So, we don't have to worry. Can any of you girls see a light surrounding me now?Ē Five novices in the front row raise their hands. "Good girls, what I am going to show you is four of the five flows. The rest of you girls, try the rose bud exercise for a few moments, DO NOT hold on to the source if you find it. Okay, girls first we'll use air.Ē Channels and Melana is pushed against the wall, arms and legs bond. She tries to regain some of the Aes Sedai dignity, but only manages to glare at Rebekah. "Next fire" A small fire ball forms in Rebekah's hand and she throws it towards Melana, setting the edge of her dress on fire. "Water" Quickly puts the fire out with the water leaving only the edge of her dress a little scorched. "And her shield is made of spirit. Was anyone able to tell the different weaves apart?" Uncertainly, a few girls nod a little. "Okay which is this." The girls stare hard at what Rebekah started to weave, and one murmurs 'Water' "Correct" Rebekah answers, drenching Melana with the water weave. "And this?" Another mutter of 'fire?' "Correct." Fire flares around Melana in a mega-flame, momentarily blocking her from view. "Now who knows why Melana Sedai wasn't burned from my fire?" Confused looks from among the novices. "You must have shielded her from it," one says. "Correct. And while I have that shield maintained, why don't you try to weave a small bit of fire?" After a while of the novices channeling at Melana, several producing both fire and water, and one even taking control of the weaves of air holding Melana to the wall, Rebekah says; "I think that that is enough for today, from you five. I am going to go through some exercises with the newer novices, but you may go." Rebekah moves to the back of the room and works for twenty minutes with the new girls. Melana is freed from the air, but the shield is left where it is. After a while, the lessons are over. "Good girls. Now I know you have some chores to do, so go ahead and get busy." The rest of the girls leave, murmuring "thank you Rebekah Sedai, Melana Sedai" and the two women are left alone. "Well Melana, that was certainly fun. I don't think those girls will look at either of us the same after today though."

Melana glares at Rebekah, while trying to regain some of that Aes Sedai dignity. Smoothing her dress, which really needs smoothing, she says; "So, youíre going to remove the shield now, right?" "Hmmm," Rebekah replies, looking impishly at her. "Nah, I think it would be safer to just leave it there for now." As she walks towards the door, she adds; "Then there might be some peace and quiet for a while." Melana just stands there, stunned, then she runs after Rebekah. She quickly catches up to her. Glaring at everyone passing by she says through clenched teeth; "Rebekah, that really isnít very nice of you!" Laughing, Rebekah replies, "No? Neither is this!" Melana jumps as something hits her on the butt. "Oh" she splutters angrily, "Iíll get back at you!" Rebekah only laughs, and when they reach the next intersecting corridor, Melana stalks to the left, while Rebekah continues ahead.

Chapter 4