The Other Side of the Coin [Fic]

Mar a'Mael: The House of Hope. A place of learning and service for the citizens of Hama Valon. Three buildings - the Museum, the University, and the House of Children - make up the House of Hope.
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The Other Side of the Coin [Fic]

Post by Sunny » April 7th, 2017, 7:16 am

Fiona Trakand
Some months had passed since her trip into the Blight with Rodric, and Fiona found she did not regret the decision she had made there. Of course, it hadn’t all been easy; as an Accepted she chose her own course of study and thus she had no choice but to explain to Maever and Christianne that she had found her true path. Maever had been understanding, if sad; the Aes Sedai had seemed vaguely affronted on the other hand, although she had not voiced objections.

For the first time since donning white Fiona felt free and whole once more, unhampered by the ridiculous sense of shame she had carried with her since learning she could be neither Warder nor legendary channeler. As a Green she could be both and more if she so desired; it amazed her that that fact had never occurred to her before. Thus she dove into her education with feisty glee. Her mornings she filled with weapons practice, her afternoons with strategy, tactics, and the history of warfare. Some days she went to the Infirmary still, both to see the friends she had made there and to hone her Talent. In the evenings she studied or spent time with her friends.

Not all her evening studies had to do with battle. The incident with the bandit still bothered the young woman immensely. She had...cut...the man’s brain. That was the only way to describe what had happened. Threads of Spirit had sliced through his body like they might have a weave of the One Power...and killed him. It had felt like Healing, only...corrupted. Inverted. Different. And it had come from her as naturally as breathing!

Now that she had chosen a different path she did not feel so comfortable approaching the Yellow Ajah with her concerns as she might have at one time, so the tiny woman took to haunting the Library. She made a point of reading every book about Healing she could find, along with books on offensive weaves, lost weaves...anything that seemed vaguely related. She read, and noted, and sketched with a certain quiet tenacity, looking for any hint of what she had done. One could not learn to channel from a book (more the pity, she found many interesting things in her search that she could do nothing with), but any mention of a similar weave might give her some clue of what had happened and why.

Weeks passed before the Andoran found anything of use. At the back of a slender book that did not appear to have a title she found a note scrawled in fading ink: There are two sides to every coin. What can mend flesh can also rend it. She did not recognize the handwriting...but then again, it was absurd to think she would. That book could easily be centuries old.

The small confirmation of what she had done both elated and terrified the Accepted. Her theory was correct...and...she had ripped someone’s brain apart. Battle Weaves were a large scale weapon used in battle; she could excuse their use in the same way she could excuse oil pots and murder holes in a siege. This thing she had done felt more specifically intimate, however and the very idea made her ill. She put the book away and vowed never to think of it again.

As with all things with the Power, however, temptation soon overruled disgust. There were only two weaves that could reasonably be argued to be wholly evil, and those were Compulsion and Balefire. This...inverted Healing (Rending, she had begun to call it in her mind), surely had positive uses. She had killed a man by slicing his brain up; what if she could save others?

Her thoughts strayed to Murdock’s leg and what she had seen of it when she Delved him, then quickly skittered away. The Andoran had not dared spend much time contemplating the Keeper since her raising. Each of her Arches had contained bits of truth, and she did not want to know if what it had shown her of Giselle was one of them. Not yet. Besides...why would the Keeper of the Archives allow an Accepted to experiment on his leg? Because he likes it when I touch him.

No. Not Murdock. Who, then?

Eventually the blonde woman’s curiosity took her to the Mar’a’Mael. She had not been there since shifting to the Green Ajah; they welcomed her without reserve. Feeling a little guilty about what she intended to do, the Accepted set to work. It took weeks for the right injury to appear, but she didn’t mind.

“Your name is Peolin?” She asked the man as she settled on the stool next to his bed.

“Yes. My stomach hurts, m’lady.” He was young and afraid, southern by his coloring and accent, though she couldn’t place where other than ‘not Illian.’

She smiled, smoothing thick dark hair away from his face. “Yes, the nurses were saying you have a...growth...there.” He nodded. “I can Heal you,” Fiona reassured him in a warm tone, “but it may hurt a bit more before it gets better. Do you understand?”

Peolin nodded. “Please, ” he said, closing his eyes. “I need to get back to the fields or my mum will go hungry this fall.”

The flows for Delving were simple enough after years of practice. Fiona put her fingers to his temples and wove them, her entire conscious focused on what she found. She had heard such things called tumors, although she did not why. In Peolin’s case the growth was fist sized and clearly growing. “I am going to try something new,” she told her patient. “Like I said, it might hurt...a lot...but my hope is that in doing this you will never have to feel this again.”

After his nod the Accepted shifted to put her hands on his belly, the flows for Rending coming together fairly smoothly. She relaxed a little; it had been a long time since her encounter with the bandit and the channeler had feared she would forget the weave. This time she directed the weave through his abdomen, intending to ‘slice’ along the outer edge of the dead spot in Peolin’s body and then up through his skin. A flow of Air should remove the growth, and then she could Heal him.

She did not expect him to scream and convulse when she tightened the weave. Blinking in shock, she released the flows and Delved him again, noting that she had barely damaged him at all. The Accepted squeezed the young man’s hand. “I will be done soon.”

The weaves proved more difficult than she had expected, and Peolin was clearly in a great deal of pain. After only a few breaths she sighed and sat back, rubbing her forehead. “I am sorry,” she told him sincerely. “I thought I could help you faster than the nurses could with their knives and herbs, but...I cannot.” she closed her head and bowed her head. “I am afraid if I keep trying, I will hurt you in truth.”

Peolin stared at her in silent confusion and Fiona flushed hot. “I will get them to take care of you next,” she told the young man fiercely. “I am sorry!”

Ashamed of both her failure and her curiosity that led to a stranger suffering more than he should have, Fiona fled the room. On her way out she imparted her message to the nurses, though she left out specifically what she had been trying to do. She would visit that problem if it caught up to her….for now, she desperately needed to be alone.
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