Date Night (Attn: Elan)

The everyday life of the inhabitants of the Grey Tower. This board is for general daily roleplay around the Tower, in the corridors, rooms and halls that make up most of the building.
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Date Night (Attn: Elan)

Post by Craig » February 6th, 2018, 2:35 pm

Elia Darrow
Mornings had often started with Elia's bedroom door being opened, but the conspiratorial giggles of two young children had been replaced by Aldith. The Amyrlin's personal maid wasn't as subtle as the twins, but then her duties included having to wake the Amyrlin each morning. Elia was already rousing from sleep when the curtains were thrown back, casting the dawn's light around the room.

"Good morning, Mother," Aldith chirped. She was young and full of youth's exburance. She was also a nobody from a nowhere village, plucked and raised to her present station by Elia alone. That covered the first criterion Elia sought from her handmaid: loyalty.

"Morning, daughter." The pretty girl beamed in delight; Elia intentionally bestowed the same honour to Aldith as she would an Aes Sedai, but only in the girl's company. Casually irking other Aes Sedai was no longer a habit Elia could afford to keep up. After the disarray caused by her predecessor, the Hall was less willing to prostrate themselves before any one person. Elia had to play the part of the flatterer, not the other way around.

Casting off those bitter thoughts, Elia adjusted into a sitting position as Aldith fetched a silver tray from outside the door. The girl had added a small vase alongside her breakfast. A lovely red rose sat in full bloom, drawing Elia immediately back to her troubles. She needed an 'in' with each of the Ajahs, someone she could liaise with. There were a number of potential candidates in each of the Ajahs, except one. The Red Ajah was so small, and none of them would be too fond of her. Jaryd lorded over them and he would never agree to be at her beck and call. Andraste was a vile wretch of a girl, Torianin was a useless milksop, and Gretchen just had one of those faces. That was practically everyone who was anyone in the Red. Practically everyone...

Elia ignored the pain as she brushed a blackened finger over the rose's petals. Without turning, Elia asked: "Daughter, can you arrange a meeting with Mael Asha'man of the Red Ajah for tonight?"

"Me, Mother?" Aldith's tone of shock was sweet, but Elia didn't address it. Yes, it was more customary to go via the Keeper, but Isadora wasn't her choice of Keeper. She'd served Ninya, and Elia wanted the Kandori to earn her confidences, not the other way around.

"Yes, in my quarters, tonight. Nothing formal, just dinner. And see to it that Corinthea and Tomas are elsewhere at the time. Maybe my brother will watch them for a few hours, or the First Weaver."

"Mael Asha'man? Dinner? Of course, Mother."
- - - Loyalty was the first criterion but not the only one; Elia also chose Aldith because she wasn't too clever. She was nobody's fool, but independent thought wasn't her forte. That meant that Elia didn't need to watch Aldith too closely for subterfuge. The girl wasn't going to seem a useful spy for anyone when she couldn't grasp complex concepts. As Elia entered her apartments later that night, she had severe regrets about that decision.

The room was, as requested, set out for dinner. There were two places at the dining table: one at the head with a second seat to the right. Appropriate for a meal between close friends but not between an Amyrlin and an Asha'man she didn't know, but the seating was hardly the worst of it. The large fireplace was cold, meaning that the room's lighting needed to come from a different source. To that end, Aldith had placed candles throughout the room. It had an unquestionably intimate feel, reminding her of certain evenings spent in Dax's company. Her cheeks warmed at the thought. A familiar feeling of longing started to rise up within her chest and Elia had to force herself to breathe. Hope was a terrible thing to cling onto; it offered a promise that could never be fulfilled.

Before she could consider anything else, someone knocked at the door. "Peace," she cursed as she whipped her head around, taking in the room. There wasn't time to start the fire and get rid of all these candles. She could apologise for the inappropriate ambience... but Light, what has Aldith planned for the meal? What if one of the courses - and who knew how many courses there would be - only came on one plate. Or with one fork or spoon to share? The girl had wildly misinterpreted Elia's instructions and--

Another knock. Elia felt her knees quaking before she forced herself to draw on her inner fortitude. In the worst case scenario, this would simply be a terribly uncomfortable evening resulting in some public innuendo. Best case, she may actually get the meeting and outcome she had intended. She ran her gloved hands over her dress in a final attempt to smooth them, then reached for the door handle.

"Mael," Elia greeted with a warm if uncertain smile. "Please, come in."
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Elan wrote:Of course, the problems with observing a chain of command arise when the one in command decides to do something unspeakably idiotic, like taking off on his own for no discernible reason in the middle of enemy territory.

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Re: Date Night (Attn: Elan)

Post by Elan » February 11th, 2018, 2:55 pm

Mael Akashi
Mael’s dreams had been a jumbled mess with not a hint of prophecy ever since the trip to Kandor and that had left him spending more time haunting Tel’aran’rhiod than in regular sleep. He’d not found any more stray Novices, though sometimes — especially within the Grey Tower — he felt like he was being watched; he never caught the watcher, though, and suspected he wouldn’t until they chose to reveal themselves.

The nights of little to no real sleep finally caught up with him that afternoon while he was trying to catch up on paperwork before his meeting with the Amyrlin Seat. He woke up with a start, hours later, the images and sounds of a Dream crowding his consciousness; a voice, dry as dust, telling him there was nothing he could do; a shrouded woman moving pieces on a stones board without realising that she was herself but a piece on a larger board; the almost frantic conviction that somebody needed his help that lingered well after he was awake.

He looked around, trying to figure what time it was and whether he was late to the meeting; when his eyes finally focused on the clock on the mantelpiece, he was relieved to find that he still had time, though not nearly as much as he might have wished. His thoughts strayed back to the Dream as he changed into a fresh uniform and ran a comb through his hair a few times, not that the latter made much of a difference. The woman with the stones board was likely Ninya Evoneigh, but the voice he couldn’t identify, and as he prepared to leave his room he could no longer afford to be distracted by the speculation.

He Travelled up to the Officers’ Floor— both because he was short on time and because he didn’t want to spend the evening in any more pain than necessary. The problem with Towers, he thought wryly, was that the leaders tended to position themselves right at the top. Shaking his head at the thought, he knocked on the door.

No answer.

After a few more moments he knocked again, thinking maybe she hadn’t heard him the first time. This time, the door opened to admit him, with Elia Darrow herself to greet him; no maid, not an assistant, but the Amyrlin Seat alone. “Elia Sedai,” he replied with a respectful bow, letting the gesture and the tone of his voice indicate that he meant no disrespect by omitting the title of ‘Mother’; she was half his age at most and calling her that would have felt nothing short of ridiculous. And as she bid him to enter, he was doubly glad he’d opted for the slightly less formal address.

He’d expected she wanted to talk about the hunt for Ninya Evoneigh, or any number of other threats the Tower might be facing; whatever the topic, he’d expected it to be strictly business. But taking in the scene — the room was lit by candles and the table set in a way that spoke of a rather more intimate occasion — Mael began to fear he’d badly misinterpreted the invitation. Then again, the invitation had been delivered by the Amyrlin’s maid rather than through the official channels; maybe he’d just been phenomenally obtuse.

“…Should I have brought flowers?” The question slipped out before he could catch it and he winced inwardly… but then again, all things considered, perhaps it was a legitimate question and if there was a misunderstanding, it would be much better to clear it up before it could escalate.

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Re: Date Night (Attn: Elan)

Post by Craig » April 7th, 2018, 10:02 pm

Elia
Elia's unsteady smile practically faltered at the question. She felt like an utter fool for imagining this sight could be interpreted in any other way. She had only an instant to decide what side of the knife to land on - appear to be an Amyrlin who had no control over her personal maid, or seem like a lonely woman looking for companionship.

"Perhaps," Elia remarked coyly as she stepped back into the room, allowing Mael to enter. Making a decision had restored most of Elia's confidence. She even smirked before continuing. "What would you have brought me, had you known?"

There were no flowers in the room. Flowers meant vases, and vases were easily toppled when excitable kids ran about. There were enough things to break without needing to add more.

Elia didn't know when food was arriving, so she walked towards her wine cabinet. She ran a gloved hand over a few of the bottles before pulling an Altaran red from the rack. Glancing over her shoulder, she first looked for wine glasses on the table, then shot Mael a furtive look. She turned with the bottle in hand. "A red for a Red? I presume that's alright?"

As she moved towards the table, Elia openly observed Mael. He may take it for personal interest, but an Aes Sedai never shirked an opportunity to play the Game. She really knew far too little about him, beyond the fact that he was the most tolerable Red she knew.

She had already picked up two things about her guest. Firstly, he was a Borderlander. That instantly placed him on a footing above everyone else, even if he was Red. Secondly, he'd seen action, and likely before his time as a channeller. His movement seemed a touch stilted - a leg injury of some sort - and pre-channelling as no-one had properly tended to it at the time. He wasn't the walking wounded like Murdock was, but he was no spring chicken. It was fortunate that he could channel; the Kandori army would have put him in some auxiliary role.

Elia removed the cork easily with a subtle application of Air, then awkwardly poured two glasses of wine using only her good arm. Fortunately nothing was spilt on the ivory tablecloth. She handed the first glass to her guest, then raised her own. "To a fruitful evening."
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Elan wrote:Of course, the problems with observing a chain of command arise when the one in command decides to do something unspeakably idiotic, like taking off on his own for no discernible reason in the middle of enemy territory.

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Re: Date Night (Attn: Elan)

Post by Elan » April 12th, 2018, 12:31 am

Mael
Oh, dear Light… This was not what Mael had expected, at all. “I’m not sure,” he replied as he followed her inside. He gave a faint, distinctly self-deprecating smile. “I’m afraid, my lady, that I am not very creative when it comes to romantic gestures.”

What he left unsaid was that had he known, he might have found himself out of the Tower on urgent Red Ajah business; in fact he might have abandoned all dignity and begged Jaryd for such an assignment. It was not that he disliked Elia Sedai; he didn’t know her, practically at all, but she was a remarkably beautiful woman, one that any man might dream of courting… And she was also the Amyrlin Seat and any involvement with her was inevitably tied up with Tower politics. No, it really would be best to steer clear from anything more personal.

He accepted the glass with a nod and raised it as she did. “To a fruitful evening.” Whatever that meant in Aes Sedai language. At least the wine was good; either she knew her vintages or had someone who did in her staff.

Small talk wasn’t something Mael was good at. He’d never had to be; he’d grown up in a remote corner of northern Kandor and had rarely had to entertain guests who weren’t also Borderlanders and such occasions — barring births, weddings and funerals — had usually been centered around practical issues, mostly the defence of their lands. After he’d left for the Black Tower, well. Jaryd had been right about the Black Tower and how highly they valued manners or civilised conversation. To say that he was out or practice would be an understatement of the century.

Nonetheless, he felt like he should find something to say. “I confess,” he began, “when I received the invitation, I thought you might wish to talk about Red Ajah business.” Though even as he spoke, he could already see the flaws in that assumption; he was neither the Head of Ajah nor a Sitter, and apart from Marten Emry, he was actually the newest addition to the Ajah, hardly one to approach for any official Ajah business.

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Re: Date Night (Attn: Elan)

Post by Craig » April 23rd, 2018, 1:33 pm

Elia
"Why can't it be both?" She made the response sound teasing, but internally she felt a grimace forming. If only he had led with that comment rather than asking about flowers. She'd already assumed her role as paramour for the evening and would play the part like a master gleeman.

Elia took her seat at the head of the table, placing her wine glass down next to her cutlery. She counted the number of knives and spoons. Three courses, she thought despondently. There would be no quick escape from this.

She angled her chair towards Mael's and crossed one leg over the other at the ankle. Her pale blue dress rose to reveal both her ankles and the silver silk slippers covering her feet.

"I'm always a little surprised when someone chooses to join the Red Ajah." Her tone was curious. It could have easily been judgmental, but Mael had yet to do anything to warrant that. "The Reds occasionally have a reputation to rival that of the Whitecloaks, but unlike the Children of the Light, you number in the... dozens?" Elia couldn't recall the Red Ajah's size off the top of her head. "So why Red? Certainly not for the acclaim, and certainly not because Jaryd's the lovable sort."
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Elan wrote:Of course, the problems with observing a chain of command arise when the one in command decides to do something unspeakably idiotic, like taking off on his own for no discernible reason in the middle of enemy territory.

Elan
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Re: Date Night (Attn: Elan)

Post by Elan » April 27th, 2018, 9:28 pm

Mael
Why not both, indeed. And there went his last hope that this might have been a misunderstanding after all. Then again, he supposed it shouldn’t have been surprising that Elia might be… lonely. As the Amyrlin Seat she’d have servants and allies and people she worked with on a daily basis to ensure the Tower remained safe and running smoothly, but how many of them could she afford to be friends with? Friends, or… anything else. She had children; and the father of those children had been lost during the war with the White Tower. Light, we never found out what happened to him. We should have tried harder.

Her question at least steered the conversation to a topic he knew how to talk about, and he gave her a quick smile, relaxing a little. The comment about Jaryd made him chuckle. “I don’t know about that. Marle seems to find him so? Anyway, Jaryd aside…” He thought for a moment. “The Hall heard my story when I first came here. Well, a short version at least. I came here chasing a Dream when all else was taken from me.” Another fleeting smile, distinctly self-deprecating. “That sounded more dramatic than I intended. Nonetheless it’s true. I’ve been fighting the Shadow all my life, mostly in the north, by the Blightborder, but…

“I’ve come to realise that the mindless beasts of the Blight are as nothing next to the evil that can take root in the hearts of men.” He grimaced slightly. “And women, I suppose. You must still be dealing with the mess Ninya Evoneigh left behind. And I… the reason I left the Black Tower…” He’d not meant to bring up Alastair, but how was he going to explain anything otherwise when Alastair had made him who he was? But on the hypothetical list of things he didn’t want to discuss with Elia, the death of the man who had been his mentor, friend, lover, everything ranked pretty high. “I guess what I’m trying to say is that after seeing firsthand the evil such people are capable of, it only felt right to dedicate my life to fighting them.”

He didn’t expect that to make much sense to someone who wasn’t Red themselves — a Green or a Blue would have argued that they, too, fought that battle, and a White would undoubtedly have said that all Ajahs fought it in their own ways — but for a Red, there was a difference. Seeing that difference — understanding it — didn’t make him feel superior to those who didn’t. The people who gravitated towards the Red Ajah were mostly people who had been broken and had to piece themselves back together, who had turned their damage into a weapon and were committed to wielding that weapon to spare others from having to reforge themselves in such a manner.

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Re: Date Night (Attn: Elan)

Post by Craig » April 28th, 2018, 8:23 pm

Elia
Elia's mind danced through many different emotions as she listened to Mael. Pride stirred when he spoke of fighting along the Blightborder. She'd always admired the community and culture of her homeland; she imagined it was much the same in Kandor. Maybe she had been too quick to judge his injury.

That pride soured when he then moved to speak about the Shadow, especially about Ninya. She was angry at Ninya, doubly so because the Light-blasted chit had escaped both the justice of the Tower and the Shadow. Elia wanted to place her fingers around the woman's neck. If it wasn't for the spectacular way Ninya unravelled so publicly, Elia wouldn't be treading on eggshells around the Hall. A weaker woman would merely have been a figurehead for the Sitters, yet her powers had practically diminished from what she had as First Seeker.

Ninya's unravelling led to Elia's weak status as Amyrlin, leading her to form a group of people to liaise with the Ajahs. In short, Ninya was to blame for the socially awkward scenario Elia found herself in now. She brushed off her irritation as focused on the present.

"It's noble," she stated. "People are ignorant to think that all evil lies to the north of the Borderlands. The former Amyrlin disgracefully reminded us here of that." She licked her lips. "I question how much of our war with Tar Valon was her doing. It seemed she destroyed one Tower whilst hollowing out the other. What do we do to fill that void? What or who else is trying to capitalise on this? I think the Red Ajah will find itself called to action more and more if we aren't able to fill this vacuum." Elia washed the filthy taste of Ninya from her mouth by necking the rest of her glass. Afterwards she lifted the wine bottle, refilling both her own glass and Mael's.

"As for the void here, the Triumvirate is..." She shrugged. "The Hall fears leadership after what she wrought. If I sat in my study simply reading books, the Tower would be content to be controlled by the eight Ajah Heads; eight different agendas vying for prominence. Part of my role as a leader is to manage these conflicts, but how am I meant to do that when my voice is unheard."

Elia made an open-handed gesture toward Mael. "Thus I come to you, in the hope that you may be able to aid me."
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Elan wrote:Of course, the problems with observing a chain of command arise when the one in command decides to do something unspeakably idiotic, like taking off on his own for no discernible reason in the middle of enemy territory.

Elan
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Re: Date Night (Attn: Elan)

Post by Elan » May 6th, 2018, 9:15 pm

Mael
So this was about politics, after all. That was almost a relief, though there was a mild sense of indignation at the idea that she’d thought she needed to do all this — whatever this was — to gain his support. Undoubtedly Elia was right about the war with the White Tower; if it had not been directly Ninya’s doing, certainly the Shadow had had cause to celebrate on that day. The White Tower might have been rotten at its core, but the majority of its Aes Sedai had been women who walked in the Light, unaware and unwilling accomplices at best.

As for the situation in the Grey Tower, a divided Hall could only work in favour of the Shadow, that much should have been obvious even to the other Ajahs. And what was Feroce Liendin doing while all this was going on? Did the M’Hael not care? Was he content to play the lone saviour of the Tower, with the Master of Arms’ seat vacant and the Amyrlin being sidelined? Liendin had had his minute of fame when he had led the Tower to war; had the former Grey grown to like it a little too much?

No, that was uncalled for, and unproductive besides. Mael sipped his wine slowly before speaking. “My lady, I am no politician,” he began. “I’m not a Sitter—” nor did he particularly want to be “—and while Jaryd might listen to me…” He shook his head. “In truth, I can’t believe he’s working to undermine you in the Hall. Chances are he’s as frustrated with the situation as you.” But the Red had a tradition of doing whatever they thought necessary whether the Hall approved of it or not, and while it was, well, necessary a lot of the time, it probably wasn’t helpful to the Amyrlin right now. “…But I’m sure I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know. So.” He set his glass aside and leaned forward slightly, every bit of his attention on the woman before him. “What can I do?”

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Re: Date Night (Attn: Elan)

Post by Craig » May 16th, 2018, 10:10 am

Elia
Elia cast a slim smile when Jaryd's name was mentioned. Her opinions concerning Jaryd, both personally and professionally, were mixed. No, she didn't think Jaryd was undermining her. If he was, the Altaran would have been vocal about his opposition; there was nothing subtle about the man. But he was one of eight, and it wasn't about undermining so much as leading from the wings.

"What can I do?" The Amyrlin focused her mind and gaze on Mael. She had a ready answer.

"I need someone - you - who will act as an intermediary between myself and the Red Ajah. Someone who will give my opinions and my insights a fair chance to be listened to by, in your case, Jaryd and the Red Sitters. In return, you would be the voice of the Red Ajah when I am in need of counsel or guidance, or simply to offer an additional viewpoint."

There was more she could have hoped for, and more she could have said, but this was the opening gambit. After all, she had no other viable Reds to use. Unless I try to meditate with Jaryd directly. But then every Ajah Head would demand the same, and this wasn't about making herself available to every clucking hen in the barnyard. Just the eight that would be her entourage, at hand when she needed them.
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Elan wrote:Of course, the problems with observing a chain of command arise when the one in command decides to do something unspeakably idiotic, like taking off on his own for no discernible reason in the middle of enemy territory.

Elan
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Posts: 450
Joined: December 6th, 2016, 10:29 am
PC: Jaren Marle, Asha'man
SC: Mael Akashi, Asha'man
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Re: Date Night (Attn: Elan)

Post by Elan » May 29th, 2018, 6:50 pm

Mael
The request seemed reasonable enough, and while getting involved in Tower politics was still the last thing Mael wanted… Elia was fighting a lonely battle and she had chosen to confide in him. There was no way he could turn his back on her plight and call himself a man, a Borderlander, a Red. Of course he was aware that he was entering a potential mine field, which is an anachronism but the writer couldn’t come up with a better analogue. Mael had only been in the Grey Tower for a while compared to any of the other Reds, or anyone in the Hall; there was always going to be history between them and the Amyrlin Seat that he wasn’t aware of. Maybe the wise thing to do would have been to remain detached — but who was he fooling, he’d never been good at that.

He smiled, inclining his head slightly in a gesture that was half a nod, half bow. “Of course,” he said. “That seems reasonable.” The promise might put him in an awkward position if the Amyrlin and the Red Ajah truly disagreed on something, but then, that was where the other part of the deal came in; he might be able to advise her in such cases before the matter ever reached Jaryd or the Sitters.

Diplomacy; who’d have thought. Alastair, he thought, more than a little wryly, if you’re watching somewhere, I hope you’re having a good laugh.

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