The Death of an Amyrlin

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Craig
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The Death of an Amyrlin

Post by Craig » May 26th, 2018, 10:55 pm

Elia Darrow
Standing by the window in her office, Elia could see the entirety of Hama Valon and Lake Somal. From this height, people were simply specks on the ground, indistinguishable from one another. The figures walking in the Tower gates could have been Asha'man or White Tower Aes Sedai, or even Whitecloaks. Obviously not the latter, or there would be a great deal of commotion. Looking away from the city, Elia examined the grey clouds overhead. It would be dark soon, and probably wet overnight. She wondered if it was raining out where Dax was. Snowfall was more likely at the Citadel.

Stepping away from the view outdoors, Elia examined the backs of the two women who sat before her desk. The Fang and Flame of Hama Valon was displayed prominently at the centre of their shawls, fringing in green and yellow respectively.

Joane Bole was archetypical of a Green. She strutted her svelte body around the Warder Yards in a pathetic attempt to find another fool to add to her collection. The Cairhienin had two Warders, but excess was the hallmark of the Battle Ajah. Joane had been a sister twice as long as Elia had, but her impact as an Aes Sedai was negligible. That, and the fact she was so easily distracted by a pretty face were the reasons Elia chose her as her contact amongst the Greens.

Audreyn Wyne was a different matter. She wasn't Elia's first choice, nor even Elia's choice at all. When she'd raised the idea with the First Weaver about having a Yellow attaché, the Illianer had offered his own services. It was a rarefied moment when Elia and Maever liked the same idea, but she had to refuse his offer. After all, if she was available for the First Weaver at all hours, every other Ajah Head would expect the same. The whole premise around having an entourage was to buffer her from those people, whilst having a sympathetic ear within each Ajah. So instead of Maever, Audreyn had been selected. She was Manetheren by birth, although she had the voice of someone raised in Baerlon. Elia didn't care too much about her background, just the fact she was old, plump and pleasant.

Elia crossed the room to her chair, taking a seat in front of them. She briefly channelled Air, snuffing out the flames of the ornate candelabra on her desk. It was a signal to the Keeper that she wasn't to be disturbed. In truth, it was to keep Isadora on the outside of any important conversation. The Kandori had yet to prove herself in Elia's opinion.

"Daughters," Elia greeted with a smile, "how are you? What news do you bring me?"
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Re: The Death of an Amyrlin

Post by Bella » May 28th, 2018, 1:15 pm

Joane and Audreyn both returned the Amyrlin's smile, although today, there was something else underlying the demeanor of both women. Although the two rarely seemed to have anything in common, there was something of an aura about them in that moment that spoke to a shared goal.

It was a little more pronounced in Joane, but a little more unexpected from Audreyn.

"Thank you for agreeing to see us today, Mother," Audreyn began, and that aura seemed to surround her words. It was the aural version of the scent of decay--sickly sweet yet undeniably dangerous. "We do have something very important to discuss with you."

Joane picked up the thread before Elia could impatiently insist she do so. "We are afraid that not everyone is pleased with your reign, and it has been determined that this should be the end." Her smile grew as, in a flash, both women embraced Saidar. Then, in a practiced, tactical maneuver, Joane shielded while Audreyn bound with Air.

They took a moment to enjoy the expression on the former Indigo's face.

"Although we would like to stay and talk longer," Joane went on, "we have been instructed to not dally. We are simply to deliver a message in two parts." She gestured to Audreyn, who stepped forward with a dagger. It had a sickly green sheen. "The first is that The First Blade sends his regards."

The second was when Audreyn slid the blade between the Amyrlin's ribs, letting the poison she had created--and thoroughly tested--just for this occasion seep fast into Elia's system.

"I would have wished to see what my latest body alteration weaves could have done to that face," the Yellow said with that pleasantness she was known for, "but I haven't the time. Maybe your daughter when she's raised will be just as pretty a candidate. Time will tell, since obviously you won't." She smiled sweetly and turned to go.

"You talk too much," Joane said with some disdain as Audreyn joined her, watching for the poison to take enough effect to render Elia unable to do much but die.

"Just make sure she's hidden and let's be about our business," the Yellow replied.

Joane wove Folded Air, effectively hiding the Amyrlin in plain sight. It amused them both to think of everyone looking for where their dear Amyrlin Seat was until the smell was what finally led them here...

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Re: The Death of an Amyrlin

Post by Craig » May 28th, 2018, 3:06 pm

Elia
What?

Shielded and bound by Air, Elia was reminded of other times she was at the mercy of others: Vaidulo, Murdock, Emmond, Mirin. She'd survived all of those encounters, even if she had to surrender a bit of herself at each step. This time was different. Audreyn and Joane weren't threats, shouldn't have been threats. Since Vaidulo she had been careful, even by the standards of the Black Ajah. The eight people she surrounded herself with were toothless, clawless cats.

"The First Blade sends his regards."

A flicker of realisation ignited behind the Amyrlin's green eyes. The architect of Vaidulo, the spider lurking in the shadows. He or she (Elia had never known which before now) had been patient. He been here all this time? It explained how Ninya had escaped; it would have been impossible otherwise.

Elia didn't have any more time to contemplate Ninya's fate. The pain was secondary to the shock of the dagger plunging into her chest. She made a mewling, confused noise. Audreyn pulled the blade free and furious agony erupted from the open wound. Fire, not unlike what she felt in Vaidulo, coursed through her veins. She barely noticed when the bindings of Air holding her upright were released, slamming her into the ground behind her desk. Rolling onto her back, Elia pressed both hands over the wound, good hand over bad. Blood flowed through her blackened hand, turning her cream-coloured dress brown.

A dome of woven light spread over her. Even in the midst of dying, she could recognise the wards. She would be invisible and silent to anyone standing a few feet away. Her mind furiously scrambled for a way to survive. If she could crawl to the door, she could call for help.

Blistering pain killed that thought and all other thoughts dead. Dead. I'm dead. There was no way she could crawl to the door, let alone call for help. Each breath felt like she was inhaling fire. Her veins sizzled as the poison took root.

She'd survived torture at the hands of Darkfriends. She'd escaped from the collar of a sul'dam in Seanchan. Former Black Ajah had plotted against her and she'd risen triumphant, despite threats and murder attempts, even fireballs. And Emmond and Mirin, with all of their manipulations and schemes, had failed to fell her. She outlived both of them. She would outlive all of them.

The pain started to ebb. With a struggle, Elia looked down towards her chest. Both of her arms were by her side, leaving blood to pour unbidden from her injury. This is it. This is genuinely it. Her eyelids felt heavy, light so heavy. She knew she had to say awake, even though her body protested.

I can stay awake. I can... awake. I...

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Re: The Death of an Amyrlin

Post by Sunny » May 28th, 2018, 8:43 pm

Dax
Dax disliked being so far from Elia. He had known what the bond would do to him and yet the foundational change in his psyche still managed to surprise him. Standing by her side in literal or figurative sense was no longer a choice, but a life-sustaining principle, a source of joy that brought light to his thoughts and a new spring to his step. He was nearly sixty, but he felt thirty again- alive, full of purpose, sure of himself in a way he had never been.

“You’re cheerful. What’s on your mind?” Malina leaned against the crenel, arms crossed over her chest. She was older now as well, her black hair peppered with silver and her lips less plump than they had been. Nothing had changed about those green eyes though, nor the wiry energy that vibrated through her small body. He suspected she would always be thunder and lightning bound up in black leather armor, dangerous and alluring at the same time.

Dax’s teeth flashed in an easy grin as he turned his gaze toward the rolling fields of Shienar outside the wall. It was strangely beautiful, that austere expanse of gray and green. The Borderlands were just as cold as he remembered, Shadowspawn just as horrific, patrols just as boring, yet he viewed it all through a different lens now. Light, everything is different.

“Finding a woman does that,” Malina observed. The Tairen blinked in confusion, then laughed as he realized he had spoken aloud.

“Am I that transparent?”

“As northern air,” Malina told him cheerfully. “Tell me, does she kiss as well as I do?”

“Better,” Dax responded immediately, eyes sliding sideways to gauge her reaction.

“I’m devastated, pumpkin. Whatever shall I do with my acres of wounded pride?”

“I’m sure Kellen would be happy to patch it up. Or...what’s her name. Tami? I seem to recall you saying her mouth must have healing properties.” Malina rolled her eyes and made as if to punch him; Dax danced backward with a chuckle.

Some time passed in easy repartee before Malina brought the topic back around. “So, this woman. She truly makes you happy?” Dax nodded, and the Saldaean woman clapped his shoulder in companionable acceptance. “I know where to dump a body if that ever changes.”

---

All tours come to an end, of course. Dax stood in the courtyard until the Asha’man on duty could make him a Gateway. It happened to be Kellen; Dax’s lips twitched remembering his conversation with Malina. Eventually the man called for him and Dax strolled forward. “Back to the Tower, please,” he said. Back home. To his children, to his lover, to the life he had finally learned to value.

A line of white light appeared, rotating open too fast for sight, yet somehow also taking too long. The Gateway barely had time to settle before a wave of wrong slammed through Dax’s mind. From a distance all he could sense was Elia’s approximate location; the hole in the air opened a direct path, however, and the tumult that assaulted him was almost too much to bear. Colors warred in his mind, sharp hues of fear and outrage and pain and despair, yet they were oddly muted, too. She’s unconscious.

Dax ducked through the Gateway immediately, panic squashing every other thought. A tiny woman in green immediately presented herself, blonde hair glowing in the sun. “Welcome home, Gaidin,” Fiona said. “Riahana-”

The Gaidin cut her off with a sharp gesture. “Later,” he snapped. “Where is Elia?” It was a moot question, but they had not yet discussed how public their bond would be. Better to have a logical explanation, just in case. His eyes followed the bond to the top of the Tower, however, studying the glass spire with particular ferocity.

“The Amyrlin?” Fiona cocked her head to the side, considering. “Probably-”

Dax growled, urgency overtaking his caution in the blink of an eye. “She needs me. Out of my way, Aes Sedai.” He lifted the Green by the shoulders and set her aside as easily as he might a sack of flour.

He had the entirety of the Tower grounds to traverse, miles of corridors, hundreds of stairs. It didn’t matter. He was running, running, every scrap of his existence focused on the bond that sputtered and sparked within his mind. If his body protested the abuse, he never noticed.

The Keeper’s study was empty when he arrived and Elia’s door posed no challenge. Beyond that obstacle lay...nothing. The Gaidin closed the door behind him with care, frowning as he surveyed the room. No signs of a struggle were present; in fact, there were no signs of life at all. Elia could as easily have stepped out for lunch if not for the overpowering sense of pain and presence that pounded in his head. What happened?

He found Elia behind her desk. It took some effort to move her outside the circle of Illusion, but once he had it did not take a lot of wit to understand the source of her pain.

“Elia,” he whispered, fingers gentle as he first examined the wound, then carefully wadded her skirts up in a futile attempt to stop the bleeding. His mind was racing, calculating the distance between her study and the Infirmary. If he moved her, would she survive? If he left to find a healer, would- he choked off a sob. “Elia, wake up. Please, love. I need to get help, but-” but I’m afraid I’ll never see you again if I do.
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Re: The Death of an Amyrlin

Post by Craig » May 28th, 2018, 9:38 pm

Elia
An external presence returned Elia to consciousness. Her body roared from the torture it endured. She was wailing before she knew it, attempting to alleviate the pain by expelling it vocally. Awake... must stay awake. Her eyelids fluttered open.

Dax?

Elia tried to catch her breath, but even inhaling shallowly was a torment, but the pain meant she was alive. Grimacing, she forced herself to breath, then coerced her throat into action. "Poison. Black Ajah. First Blade." She winced as the wound opened from her attempts at talking.

The pain was surreal. Whether the Creator or the Dark One had a claim on her, her thread was about to be cut from the Pattern. Recognition brought about a sudden release. Locks in her head that had been sealed for decades reopened. If this was it, she had a final, selfish chance at redemption.

"Dax!" she hissed. "I never wanted to be... I was forced into it... It's revenge for..." Her thoughts were blurring together, as were her words. "I'm not a bad person. I had to swear their Oaths."

"I didn't want to... I didn't..." I...
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Re: The Death of an Amyrlin

Post by Sunny » May 29th, 2018, 7:07 am

Dax
In addition to all the benefits, there were aspects of being a Warder Dax did not enjoy. As it happened, the horrible clarity with which he understood that Elia was dying was definitely one of them. He gathered himself to- what, exactly? But stopped short when the bond fluttered, red and orange spiking into unworldly focus as Elia came back to consciousness. “Poison. Black Ajah. First Blade,” Elia murmured. He half expected to see blood on her lips, and released a breath he hadn’t known he held when they remained clean. Nothing could save her once that happened, not even Healing.

Elia was speaking again and the words tumbling from her lips were the last he ever expected to hear. He knew she was Shadowsworn, but not at what cost. The Aelfinn had certainly neglected to mention coercion! Dax’s mind raced, but he couldn’t think of a reason for her to lie to him now and the bond bore no hint of deceit. Perhaps she truly had been forced. How is that even possible? “I didn’t want to,” she finished, pale-faced and shaking. “I didn’t-”

Dax cursed as she fell still, his repertoire of filthy language coming in handy as he sought an outlet for feelings he could not name. He didn’t curse at her, however. Never at her. His hands felt too rough on her face, calluses catching on her hair as he smoothed it back. Her eyes opened again and she stared up at him. Or through him, perhaps, green eyes glassy with hurt. She tried to speak and Dax shook his head. “Shh, love. I know, I know. I’ve known for years. I said yours forever, remember? I meant it.”

As he settled Elia back to the floor, it occurred to Dax with horrifying clarity that he was a dead man walking. If she died, the bond would snap. In that event the open air beyond the balcony was entirely too close for comfort. If she lived, however… If she lived, she knew what he knew and the danger of that could not be understated. Assuming she avoided trial (and if she didn’t, he wouldn’t either, and there was no Oath Rod with which to conveniently prove his innocence), Elia would kill him with her own hands. The Shadow was brutal, he knew that much. Willingly or not, she would protect herself from harm.

If she dies, the twins will lose both of us. If she dies, someone else will take her place. Someone worse, someone unknown. Someone willing and able to anything to achieve the Shadow’s ends. If she dies, the First Blade gets one step closer to victory. If she dies...

Elia wouldn’t die. Not today, not tomorrow. He might not live to see the light of morning if she survived, but the alternative was no better. Besides, he was just a man. Replaceable in the long run and entirely unimportant. She could fight the trap she was in. She might even win. Hope was gossamer thin, but at least on that path it existed.

Dax was on his feet and to the door before he took another breath. Both desks still stood empty, mocking him silently. Where in the bloody Light had the Keepers gone? He stared at the M’Hael’s door for all of a half-breath before wrenching the outer door open and striding into the corridor beyond. He swung around the pillar at the top of the stairs, taking the steps three at a time in his haste to get below, to a place where he might find a channeler.

He made it down three flights of stairs before a tiny figure in green burst around the curve of the stairwell, skirts hiked to her thighs as she ran. She stopped dead at the sight of him; he slowed his descent only when she held out both her hands for his attention. “Dax,” Fiona gasped, falling against the wall as if her legs could no longer hold her upright. “What in the Light is going on? Where is the Amyrlin?”

“How did you-? Nevermind, it doesn’t matter. Can you Heal?”

“Can I-” Fiona touched her fingers to the side of her face as if she had been asked the stupidest question in the universe. “Do you live under a rock? Of course I can Heal. It’s practically all I’m good for.”

Desperate hope blossomed. Fiona knew things--important things, things that could destroy other people’s lives--about the Seanchan invasion. She knew and had never breathed a word to a soul even when it might have made her life easier. It only took a moment of contemplation to decide to trust the Andoran woman.

“Please- it’s Elia. She’s dying-” Dax was already turning, dashing back the way he had come. He heard Fiona sigh, huffy and annoyed, but she kept pace with him all the way back to the Amyrlin’s study without saying a word. At any other time he would have been impressed. As it was, the Tairen was simply grateful for the tiny woman’s stamina.

And then his lover’s hands were in his once more and Fiona’s fingers were on Elia’s temples and all he could do was watch and wait and ignore the lump in his throat that threatened to suffocate him.
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Re: The Death of an Amyrlin

Post by Craig » May 29th, 2018, 3:38 pm

Elia
Once more, something woke Elia from a heavy sleep. For a moment she felt frozen. It reminded her of a childhood memory when the window into her bedroom had been left upon during a snowstorm. Her father had to carry her through to the living room, cradling her in his lap as the fire warmed her up. And then there was intense warmth. She was burning up. A fire radiated out from her torso, launching heat outwards towards once-frozen limbs. Then there was nothing.

She opened her eyes, confused and uncertain of what had transpired. She was groggy and exhausted, so she tried to raise a hand to her face to rub her eyes. The limb protested, and her bad arm was the same. Something held her hands in place, but even without that resistance, her body felt like it was made of cream.

Eventually, her vision started to clear. There was pressure against her temples. She traced arms extending out from her head until they became the shoulders of a woman. The blonde looked familiar, but Elia couldn't place a name to that face.

There was someone else hovering over her. Elia strained to peer down towards the man. It had to be a man; he had the scruffy beginnings of a beard. It never developed beyond that. Maybe one day she'd ask him to grow it out for her. Elia tried to speak, but her throat felt strained and dry, meaning she coughed pathetically instead.

Blinking, she took in her surroundings as the grogginess started to dissipate. The angle was unusual, but Elia recognised the office. My office? Why am I lying on the floor? Her weakness fired back memories. Audreyn! Joane! Wide-eyed, she stared at the woman above her, but the blonde was neither of her assailants. And Dax was here. There was no chance he was one of her would-be murderers. She closed her eyes as relief sunk in.

I'm alive. I am alive. Peace, what would have happened if I had died? The children, Dax, peace... That she hadn't thought about them before now made her sick. She'd lost perspective. This world didn't allow her to have children and a lover consequence-free. She was glad to be alive and glad that Dax was alive as well.

Thinking about her Warder brought his feelings into the foreground. Determination and worry struck her first. She looked into his eyes, wishing her voice would return so she could comfort him. Don't fret my love. I'm alive. I will survive to see another sunset by your side. The faintest smile touched her lips, yet a wave of anxiety drifted through the bond. I'm here Dax. Why are you--

Then it struck her. A tightness settled over her skin like a snug-fitting dress. Elia's eyes narrowed as she peered at Dax. Her body was enervated yet her mind felt sharp. Saidar was beyond her touch for the moment, but it wouldn't be long before she had her hands on that weapon again. And then, my love, we'll see how deep your devotion to me will stretch.

He had only two choices: join the Shadow as she had done, or meet the mother's embrace in death.
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Re: The Death of an Amyrlin

Post by Sunny » May 30th, 2018, 12:27 am

Dax couldn’t see the One Power, but he could feel its effect in his head. As the bond strengthened, his grip on Elia’s hands tightened. Eventually there was an odd shift and he knew Elia was conscious once more. He watched her intently, his relief when she smiled tempered by his acceptance of what was to come.

He felt the exact moment when Elia shifted from peaceful contemplation of his face to iron resolve. And...then regret joined it, like a cold shroud over everything. He couldn’t help but square his shoulders and sit up a little straighter at the feeling, meeting her gaze with pleading blue eyes.

Fiona was oblivious to the unspoken tension, or at best did not heed its real source. “You need to rest, Mother,” she said, patting Elia’s shoulder companionably. “You’ll want plenty of food and hot tea; I’ll make sure both get here as soon as may be. We need to track down your attacker as well. How in the Light did they escape, anyway? Dax, you didn’t see anything? How did you know where to find her?”

The Gaidin shook his head silently, his fingers flexing around Elia’s. His mind was moving faster than it ever had before, his eyes searching the room for something -anything- he could use to delay the inevitable. How long until Elia could move? How long until she was compelled to take action? “I saw nothing save Elia herself,” he admitted. “"This is not the first time an assassin has crept into these quarters to do the Shadow’s work. I will not let them succeed with her.”

Perhaps Elia would pick up on what he was really saying: Follow my lead, love; I will protect you even now. Perhaps.
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Re: The Death of an Amyrlin

Post by Craig » May 30th, 2018, 1:14 am

Elia
As the child nattered and Dax looked on, Elia wished for time to move forwards. She knew all about the after-effects of Healing, both as practitioner and patient. Physically her wounds were mended, but the body required time and energy to return to normal. Still, even that didn't explain why her body was refusing her commands. Dax held her hands tightly, but she could barely make the slightest grip to hold back onto his.

Elia had nothing to do but think. Two likely possibilities explained her ongoing condition. The first was that Fiona - she finally remembered the Green's name - hadn't Healed her properly. If that was the case, Elia wasn't looking at a few days to recover but possibly weeks. If there's even a hint of a scar, I'll flay you until Trollocs find you too grotesque to eat.

The second possibility lay with whatever substance had coated Audreyn's blade. She wasn't just a Yellow; she was Talented when it came to Healing. Audreyn had publicly demonstrated three new weaves to the Grey Tower to more effectively Heal different internal organs. It stood to reason that she had private research too, and now that Elia knew she was Black and aligned with the First Blade, it stood to reason Audreyn had knowledge of Vaidulo. Her skin crawled at the thought. Depending on how Talented Audreyn truly was, this poison may be resistant to Healing. Chilling to consider, yet it explained her current status.

Elia blinked slowly. There was a frenetic itch in the back of her brain. It took her a moment to recognise it as Dax. What are you thinking, my love? Whatever it is, it won't save you. There's nowhere you can run that I won't find you, and there's nothing to can do to stop the inevitable without sealing your own fate. Her thoughts were dark, especially flirting with death so shortly after avoiding it, but she couldn't stop herself. Dax knew too much and she was compelled to fix that.

She blinked again, slower this time. She struggled to open her eyes, and even then it was merely for a moment. No. No sleep. But it was inevitable. Healing only did so much; the body and mind needed to do the rest.
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Re: The Death of an Amyrlin

Post by Sunny » May 30th, 2018, 6:05 am

Fiona Trakand
Fiona pulled herself away from the odd duo, but she watched them curiously nonetheless. It didn’t take a lot of wit to understand that Elia had bonded Dax, and even less to comprehend the devotion in the Dax’s eyes when he looked at the Aes Sedai. Fiona felt wistful for a moment, watching them, but quickly busied herself with cleansing the blood from her skirts with Water and checking the room for hidden dangers.

Dax made a startled sound and the Green turned to find that Elia had collapsed back into unconsciousness. Fiona shook her head and touched the Gaidin’s shoulder with a comforting hand. Light, she didn’t even have to bend. “Whatever they struck her with, it was poisoned,” she said carefully. “I Healed her and she will recover, but it leached her body of all its strength. It will take some time for her to recover. I think- I think her arm might be making it more difficult, but I didn’t have time-”

The sentence cut off mid-word as Dax pulled himself free and stood. It took two steps for him to crowd far too close to Fiona; she tried to back away, and found herself pressed against the Amyrlin’s desk. “What-”

“I need you to listen to me,” he said in a low voice. He had her chin in his hand forcing her to look him in the face; she thought his blue eyes might pierce through her soul. “I need you to help me do something...and to keep it a secret. I swear...Light, I swear by my hope of salvation and rebirth that the ends justify the means.”

Fiona’s gaze slid from contemplation of light flashing on Dax’s teeth as he spoke, to the red-haired woman on the ground. “If you are about to tell me anything the world should not know about Elia Darrow, I would consider your next words carefully,” she said after a moment.

“I need you to make Elia re-swear the Oaths.”

“What?” Shock gave her strength, or perhaps he simply gave up on holding her. Either way, she shoved Dax away and stared at him with open mouth, listening to the faint clatter of dice in the back of her head. “Dax, I can’t. That’s a matter for the Hall-”

No.” Dax was back, practically vibrating with poorly expressed emotion as he loomed over her. “They wouldn’t understand. There is no way I could ever hope to make them. Fiona...make her swear the Oaths. Please.” Deadly certainty of what he was asking settled over Fiona; she looked again at the Amyrlin, and wondered at how the Shadow had grown powerful enough to put two Black Ajah Aes Sedai in power in a row.

Dax was so absolutely certain this was the right thing to do...and Fiona was equally certain that the Gaidin was not a Darkfriend. He could be deluded...or he could know something she did not.

“She’s stronger than I am, Dax,” Fiona hissed. “She has to speak them willingly, and I can’t make her.

“Try, Fiona. I will do anything you ask besides take her to the Hall. Please, please try.”

The Andoran studied Dax’s face in the silence that followed, noting the lines and scars that had not been there the last time they stood so close, the sadness that lurked in his eyes even when he smiled. She knew his devotion, however. She had seen glimpses of it when he fought alongside Katrie when the Seanchan invaded, and again when he played with his children.

“I will do my best,” she said finally. “I can’t promise anything else, Dax.” The dice stopped dead at the words. That was all Fiona really needed to know she had made the right decision.
Dax
Dax wrapped his fingers through Elia’s once more, only this time, he did it to restrain her. He usually avoided touching her bad hand at all; holding it now felt strange and invasive in ways he couldn't quite understand. It was a necessity, however, a safety stopgap in case she fought Dax’s plan. Some channelers could channel without the use of their hands, but as far as he or Fiona knew, Elia was not one of them. She could embrace, certainly, but actually forming weaves should be impossible.

Light, he hoped Fiona was right.

The small Aes Sedai knelt nearby, a slender ivory rod grasped in one hand. It was a little frightening how easily Fiona had retrieved the Oath Rod. Sometimes my luck runs quicker than a river, she had explained as she picked apart the protective ward. Now she waited until Dax nodded, then pressed the fingers of her free hand against Elia’s forehead. “It’s time to wake up, Mother.”
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False alarm- there's still a song for me; I'm just about around to sing it
There's still a chance for me...and I'm still here singing.

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