A Bittersweet Reunion (Attn: Alianora)

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Bridget
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PC: Haxia do Catalan a'Coralle

A Bittersweet Reunion (Attn: Alianora)

Post by Bridget » November 28th, 2021, 5:05 pm

Haxia
Haxia folded the note next to her teacup, nodded at the girl who had passed it to her, and turned back to the breakfast table. “Does anyone know where Amaranie Sedai’s quarters are?” She asked, rather pleased her voice sounded just as pleasant as it usually did in the morning- which was only mildly. Haxia did know those particular directions, although she had never been- but it was usually wise to pretend she knew less than she did. Whatever this was, it stank of Aes Sedai… something.

Beorin Sedai had taken over her instruction in the One Power in the last few years. New girls tended to be jealous of the close instruction, and Haxia always told them that it was a privilege of her venerable status as a novice- which was really a joke for the older girls. Any private tutoring for a novice was generally remedial. But as loathe as she was to admit it, Haxia was grateful to Beorin Sedai. The Grey had started of their first lesson with the acknowledgement that Haxia had needed- ”You’re not strong enough to do this in the usual way, so we’ll have to get creative.”

Other sisters seemed not to notice her weakness in the One Power, and glanced past her struggles with advice that rarely seemed to apply. Beorin looked right at it, and told her in plain terms what she could and could not manage, and what she might modify to get it done. Haxia had never appreciated bluntness before, but it was beginning to grow on her.

Beorin Sedai did send her out for lessons with other Aes Sedai now and then- but always to women who were weaker in the One Power, who had little tricks to share. Amaranie was certainly not that; Haxia could hardly imagine that she’d have anything of use to share. It would be a waste of a morning lesson, which meant that it was something else. While it would be comforting to imagine that it was about her, perhaps a motivational nudge to work harder, Haxia rather doubted it. Her long slog as a novice had taught her, much to her great shock, that not everything was about her. She lacked the context needed to do more than wonder what this could be about.

She nodded in a quick thanks to the novice who offered her directions, drowned the rest of her tea, and stood to make her way to the Indigo Halls. It could be some sort of dig at Amaranie- to force her to acknowledge that she had chosen poor allies as a novice. Or perhaps some subtle punishment, to make her sit through instruction with a relic of her past? Haxia couldn’t do more than imagine. It rankled, to have to leave those analyses and machinations to Amaranie- who was hardly the sort who would manage it well.

The sad thing was, she missed Amaranie Sedai. It hadn’t been terribly inconvenient, when Amaranie was an Accepted- it was reasonable enough to press a cup of tea into the hands of a favorite Accepted, to ask her how she was sleeping, to meet in the gardens for a quick chat. They had grown apart, but Haxia had expected their rapport to return quickly when she gained the banded dress. So it was more than a little inconvenient that Amaranie had gained the shawl, and Haxia had gotten a new set of novice whites, after wearing out the stitching in the first. They had not spoken since Amaranie’s raising, and Haxia could hardly blame her for it.

Haxia stopped in front of Amaranie’s door and grimaced. It would be fine. She schooled her face and knocked lightly. It would be fine! Maybe Amaranie would have something useful to teach her, and wasn’t caught up in some sort of Aes Sedai rivalry! They were full grown women, they could sit through… whatever this was going to be.

Alianora
"The Path of Daggers"
Posts: 916
Joined: May 2nd, 2016, 8:32 pm
PC: Liaran Sedai, Blue Ajah
SC: Amaranie Sedai, Indigo Ajah
TC: Kalyan Rihera, Yellow Ajah

Re: A Bittersweet Reunion (Attn: Alianora)

Post by Alianora » December 6th, 2021, 11:32 pm

Amaranie Sedai
An Aes Sedai was supposed to be serene, calm, poised.....but Amaranie Sedai was pacing back and forth across the lavender floor tiles of her sitting room. At this hour, she should have been down in the Vaults with her research. It made her uneasy to be thrown off her usual schedule, and even more so when she thought about the reason she was here instead of there. The Indigo bit her lip and glanced at the door, wondering for at least the hundredth time why she had been assigned a novice class to teach, when she knew perfectly well that she was far from being even adequate as an instructor. And if that weren't enough, I'm supposed to have Haxia as a student? Years ago, they had been novices together, roommates and good friends...but now, she was here in the Indigo quarters while Haxia still wore white. Amaranie could not imagine that her old friend would really see her as an Aes Sedai....and there was no chance she would be able to treat Haxia like any other novice.

With a grimace, the Indigo looked around the room. Her furniture was nice, if nothing overly fancy; two stuffed chairs of a grey fabric with a matching sofa were arranged before the fireplace. Between the chairs and the fireplace was a large rug of mostly purple shades with some blues and greys mixed in, and a small wooden table containing a steaming teapot and two waiting cups. Even Amaranie knew that making tea was usually a chore for a novice, but it wasn't something she could bring herself to tell Haxia to do.

She signed, frowned, and continued to pace, kicking her deep violet skirt out of the way, until she was distracted by the knock she'd been so anxiously awaiting. With a deep breath, Amaranie adjusted the ribbon that held her hair in a tail flowing down her back, and opened the door to a woman who looked much as Amaranie remembered. She smiled and said, "Come in, Haxia." The more proper address for a novice was child, of course, but she couldn't imagine ever calling Haxia that. "Have a seat by the fire, and pour yourself tea if you like."

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Bridget
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PC: Haxia do Catalan a'Coralle

Re: A Bittersweet Reunion (Attn: Alianora)

Post by Bridget » January 5th, 2022, 9:03 pm

Haxia
She curtsied, tilting her face down to hide the surprise. Light, she had imagined that Amaranie would at least be able to address her properly in the hallway! Calling a novice so informally, with such genuine welcome- would be fine, yes, in most contexts. But given their history, and the fact that this sudden lesson had something of a political stink, any sensible woman would have greeted her with much more formality. Haxia would even have recommended iciness! At the very least until the door was closed.

Haxia followed Amaranie in, chewing at her lip. She had half a mind to sit her old friend down and give her a stern talking to, but at least one of them had to keep up the pretense. The Grey Tower was a political minefield, even if Aes Sedai and Asha’men tended to hide it with kindness and generosity in a way that wouldn’t have been believable from the White Tower. She was just a novice, and even to her it was clear as day! Amaranie had been Aes Sedai for how many years now? At the very least, she probably had to handle some politics in her research- to get the access and funding that she needed, and very likely the approval of her Ajah for more sensitive projects. Honestly, how had Amaranie even fared without her? It was painfully clear that Amaranie had no more of an idea why this particular lesson was assigned than she did.

“Thank you, Amaranie Sedai.” Haxia murmured, the very picture of an obedient novice, as she took a spot on the proffered chair and busied herself with the tea tray. She poured, first for Amaranie, then herself. Haxia still remembered how her old friend took her tea. She watched as the other woman sat down, and hid her sigh with a cup of tea. Amaranie’s dress was far too fine for a novice class, and her hair was honestly neater than Haxia had seen it in years. It wasn’t particularly comforting to know that Amaranie was just as nervous about this farce as she was. “What will our lesson be today?”

It was hard not to ask the questions that she wanted to ask- if Amaranie was sleeping well, if her research was going well, what it had been like for her to become Aes Sedai. The distance between them, even when Amaranie was taking pains to treat her with more respect than her position deserved, felt like an impassable gulf.

Alianora
"The Path of Daggers"
Posts: 916
Joined: May 2nd, 2016, 8:32 pm
PC: Liaran Sedai, Blue Ajah
SC: Amaranie Sedai, Indigo Ajah
TC: Kalyan Rihera, Yellow Ajah

Re: A Bittersweet Reunion (Attn: Alianora)

Post by Alianora » January 15th, 2022, 10:49 pm

Amaranie Sedai
Seated in her chair, Amaranie just barely managed to stop herself from wincing when she saw Haxia pour two cups of tea. Ordering Haxia to serve her as any novice would had not been her intention, and she worried that her old friend would resent her for it. When the teacup was offered to her, the Indigo accepted it only after thanking Haxia with more warmth than most other sisters would have shown a novice. Looking at Haxia, Amaranie couldn't help but see her old friend first and the novice second. Restraining her behavior to the more typical calm indifference expected of her felt impossible before a woman who had seen her cry on more than one occasion. She took a sip, touched to find that Haxia still remembered how she liked her tea. Amaranie couldn't stop herself from giving her a small smile as she put the cup back down and turned in her chair to look at the other woman.

"I'm supposed to teach you how to link today," Amaranie said with a tilt of her head. She'd gone over and over the reasons why she might have been assigned this task in her own head ever since she had been informed of it, and had yet to come up with any logical explanation for why she should be the one to teach Haxia this. She took a deep breath to cover the sigh she wanted to give and asked, "Have you learned anything about it in any of your classes?"

There was so much more Amaranie wanted to ask and knew she couldn't. Does she mind being a novice for so long? Does she still have those dreams she had years ago? Does she hate me for being Aes Sedai while she is still in novice white? The Aes Sedai knew she wouldn't get the answers to those questions. There was certainly no hint of one in Haxia's expression, or in her perfect obedience. Light, but she's already more like an Aes Sedai than I'll ever be! The observation didn't help, and Amaranie looked towards the fireplace in an effort to control her own emotions.

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Bridget
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Joined: October 2nd, 2014, 4:57 am
PC: Haxia do Catalan a'Coralle

Re: A Bittersweet Reunion (Attn: Alianora)

Post by Bridget » January 23rd, 2022, 6:35 pm

Haxia
It felt wrong to watch Amaranie placidly over the rim of her teacup, to drink slowly and politely. They had had so many clandestine, late night tea parties in their time together as novices- in their fierce agreement to sleep as little as possible. Haxia had been allowed to be lively, then; to tease her friend, to choke indecorously on a swallow of tea when Amaranie had told a particularly good joke. It was viscerally wrong, to be perched primly in front of her old friend, to show only obedience and never warmth. But it had been a long time since Haxia had had a friend like Amaranie; all of the friends she had made had been raised to at least Accepted. It was harder and harder to relate to the new novices, who were little more than girls. They were young enough, or perhaps Haxia was old enough, that they could have been her daughters.

It had not been a good day, when she had first realized that.

But here- with Amaranie, was there truly a need to hide herself so completely behind the mask of an even-tempered novice? They both knew it to be a lie. Who was there to see if Haxia let her mask crack a fraction? Amaranie, who was staring at the fireplace in an upsetting effort to avoid eye contact, certainly wasn’t pretending.

But it still felt like a monumental effort, to knock her tea back and smile wryly at her old friend. Putting a true expression on her face was a conscious effort now, after so long. “Of course, Amaranie Sedai.” And still, she could not drop the honorific- could not act as if there was no gulf between them. “But I’ve fumbled every attempt.” Haxia had so little of the Power. It was unnatural and horrific to just… let someone else have it. “I may be graceful elsewhere, but with the Power?” Haxia shrugged, uncomfortably. “Remember the time I lit my hand on fire?”

Oh, she had gained some grace in the Power since then. It had been over a decade, after all; but the skills she gained over years, Amaranie had grown in the matter of weeks. There was no use in pretending that she did not know why she was still in white, that she did not know why she would never be Aes Sedai. And that hurt, but it hurt more to feel as if she was trapped in amber- that she would forever wear white, go through the same motions every day. Forever scrubbing floors and fumbling weaves, with nothing to look forward to but more of the same. Haxia forced herself to grimace down at her cup, to let some of that frustration show in the corners of her eyes. If there was anyone she could tell, wasn't it Amaranie?

Alianora
"The Path of Daggers"
Posts: 916
Joined: May 2nd, 2016, 8:32 pm
PC: Liaran Sedai, Blue Ajah
SC: Amaranie Sedai, Indigo Ajah
TC: Kalyan Rihera, Yellow Ajah

Re: A Bittersweet Reunion (Attn: Alianora)

Post by Alianora » February 1st, 2022, 11:29 pm

Amaranie Sedai
Amaranie turned towards Haxia when the novice spoke, noting the unhappiness in her old friend's expression. Was it discomfort with her? The situation? Something else entirely? Amaranie did not know, and fretting about the possbilities wasn't doing her any good. She took another sip from her teacup and said reasonably, "That was years ago....and everyone makes mistakes." It sounded like just the sort of thing an Aes Sedai would say to placate a novice....which might have been fine if her student had been anyone other than Haxia. A sigh escaped from her as she looked down. How in the Light am I supposed to do this?

There were rules and expectations that came with being Aes Sedai, conventions that ordered her life even to something as small as her conduct before a novice. She shouldn't be too friendly, too kind or encouraging....yet Amaranie couldn't stand the thought of reverting to the cool and distant formality she should be assuming in front of Haxia. In the back of her mind, the Indigo knew she simply wasn't capable of it. If this were some sort of test of her behavior, Amaranie was sure she was failing rather miserably.

She lifted her head and looked into the other woman's eyes. "Did you know," she admitted, "I still can't make a flower bloom? None of us can do everything perfectly all the time." She drank more of her tea, trying to think about how to approach the lesson she was supposed to teach. She herself had learned to link as most novices did, by allowing the instructor to control the circle of two. Haxia, however, had sounded so reluctant that Amaranie wasn't sure she should even bother trying to approach it that way. The only other option, it seemed to her, was to teach Haxia how to take control. If that wasn't the normal method of teaching a novice to link...well, none of this lesson was any sort of normal, regardless of how they were struggling to act as if it were.

Amaranie leaned forward, pushing the tail of her hair away from where it had fallen over her shoulder to dangle down her back. "Haxia," she said softly, "do you trust me?" She herself wasn't worried about the thought of allowing Haxia to lead; her old friend might still be a novice, but she was hardly a silly young girl anymore. Her lack of concern, unfortunately, would mean little if Haxia wouldn't agree to at least attempt what Amaranie had in mind.

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