Zarayne sat on the floor of her room, pensively twisting the letter in her hand. It was just a letter, not even placed in an envelope and sealed. She had flicked the corner of the page so often, it was clear that the author was a woman. Zarayne even suspected she knew who's hand it was, but she hadn't quite mustered the nerve to open it fully.
Raising from her collection of sheets and pillows nestled over the symbol of the Fang and Flame, the novice crossed to the corner of her room where her cabinet was. Pulling open a drawer, she took out a fresh dress and slid it on over her head. Her other dress was in the opposite corner of the room, ready for washing later on.
Bells rung out across the Grey Tower. The Aielwoman frowned at the light coming through the heavy curtains, as if she could will time to halt or roll backwards. Impossibilities. With a sullenness that wasn't truly her usual self, Zarayne snatched up the letter and read it. It was from whom she had suspected, but the content of the letter was very different.
A few minutes later, and the lanky novice found herself standing outside the Mistress of Novices' office, situated in the centre of the Great Serpent structure. She seemed at ease because she mostly was. Assuming the summons were not misleading, then there was no forthcoming punishment. In a way, Zarayne was close to pleased to be standing outside Vanya Sedai's office. At least this time, the Mistress of Novices had given her advance warning of her new roommate.
The Yellow sister's door opened from the inside. Zarayne was not standing directly opposite the doorway, so she was hidden from the Tuatha'an, yet Vanya still called out her presence. "Zarayne will be your new roommate. Zarayne, show Seryna to your room." There seemed, to Zarayne, to be an unneeded emphasis on the pronoun.
Zarayne acknowledged the Mistress of Novices without a direct line of sight. "Yes, Vanya Sedai."
The Aielwoman looked down at her new roommate and presumably at the Tower's newest novice as well. She was pale, a wetlander for certain, not that Zarayne had much more colour to her own skin. Dark hair and skin contrasted starkly with the novice's visage, but then that was common with wetlanders. Zarayne had no interest in making any sort of comment on it, for she knew she was the usual outsider.
"I'm Zarayne," the taller novice said by way of introduction. "Please, follow me. Our room-" she had no difficult saying that "-is just this way." She led the two of them through the northeastern corridor. East denoted the novices' quarters, whereas the soldiers were on the west. It wasn't a great distance to their rooms, but Zarayne felt the need to fill in the dead air.
"What do you prefer to be called?" the Aiel asked. "I know wetlanders prefer short names, so if you want to be called something other than Seryna, just ask. I prefer my full name myself."