It was a lovely sunny day, and Lillith found herself in her secret garden. It was a lovely little place on the Tower ground that she’d found as an Accepted, and had yet to see anyone but the occasional Tower gardener in. In short, it was a place that suited the solitary White Sister.
Today, she was going over notes from her most recent meeting with Larindhra, the Mistress of Novices. While Lillith was hesitant to call the relationship between herself and the Red Sister ’friendship’, she valued her time with the older woman. There was a degree of comfort she felt with Lari that she’d not felt with anyone before. Of course, it helped the older woman let the young White Sister study her charges, and that they could share an enthusiasm on the matter.
”Don’t dwell on that now, there’s work to be done,” Lillith thought firmly to herself, taking a moment to swirl the nib of her pen in the pot of alcohol next to her on the bench. A gentle breeze brushed her cheek, producing a momentary smile as she re-inked her pen and bent back over her lapdesk. She was spending the afternoon transcribing her jotted notes from meetings with Lari and some of the Novices into a tidy progression. It was a pet project of hers, tracking how the new children fit into place, and while she didn’t expect it to bring her fame or acclaim, it didn’t matter; it was something that interested her, and that was enough!
“Hello?” somebody suddenly called out, and Lillith grimaced at the dark line now dug into the page on her desk. Looking up, she saw a short, fair-haired woman smiling down at where she sat. Putting her desk to the side, Lillith replied, “Do I know you?” Grimacing, she shook her head, “That was inane of me… I am called Lillith.. and you are?”
15 September 2008
“Loraine,” the other woman called over her shoulder as she moved deeper into the garden. It was obvious to Lillith that even with her ‘intrusive’ presence, this was a place of great refuge and comfort for this other Sister. “Much as it is to me,” she thought ruefully as she stood to see what was of such interest to the other woman.
The other Sister walked around talking to herself for a moment before turning back to the White standing by the bench, “I’m sorry if I’ve interrupted you,” she spoke, “I just needed the peace I always find in this garden.”
Dipping her head in acknowledgement, Lillith replied, “This is something I can understand, for all I’ve only known of this garden since being raised to the shawl. I.. I didn’t wander much from my studies as an initiate, it didn’t seem.. logical.” She permitted herself a small smile; this was a polite hint as to what her Ajah was, since she wasn’t new enough to wander about flaunting her Shawl.
Picking up her lapdesk, she placed it on the ground at her side and patted the bench next to her, “I take it that you’re recently returned to the Tower, then? Perhaps I saw you around when I was new to the shawl, but like many at that time, I was too engrossed in my Ajah to even start to learn who there was outside of that grouping.. besides my teachers, that is.”
11 November 2008 (11:37pm GMT)
“Have I left Tar Valon? No, I fear that I haven’t; my studies since reaching the shawl have kept me most busy,” she nodded politely, taking a second to make sure her lapdesk was secure and far enough to the side to not accidentally get kicked. Satisfied, she turned her attention back to her impromptu company, “I wish I found more moments to spend outdoors, truly, but it’s something I’ve only started to appreciate as I’ve aged. Not that I find that many moments to enjoy out of doors, but in a way, that makes them all the more precious.”
Letting her attention get momentarily distracted by a passing butterfly, she smiled slightly and continued, “As for having a Warder… I guess I cannot see the need as a Tower-bound Sister. As you’ve expressed, I cannot see the Gaidin who are here at the Tower being truly happy with the situation. If, perhaps, I am taken with a need to travel at a later date, I might investigate the possibility.” She laughed softly, peering for a moment at her hands folded in her lap, “It’s not as if anyone is going to murder me in my bed here at the Tower, is it?”
A soft breeze wafted through, caressing the young White Sister’s face as she took a moment to look around the garden again. A sense of contentment filled her; while she wasn’t exactly a gregarious individual, one-on-one interaction, on occasion, was such a pleasant thing, especially when there wasn’t the feeling out she would normally associate with other Sisters in the Tower. Turning back to the other Sister, she spoke again, “And yourself? Do you prefer to be ‘home’ at the Tower, or out in the world?”
14 November 2008 (9:31pm GMT)
The young White Sister couldn’t help but note the older woman cringe slightly at her light-hearted comment about murder, “Oh bloody and bloody ashes, do I even want to know what has happened before my time?!” she groaned mentally, maintaining her outward composure before speaking again. Lor paused before answering, as if in thought.
”So then, probably a Green or a Blue,” she thought to herself in satisfaction; it seemed often that the Sisters of those Ajahs were forever off on ‘adventures’. Not that there was anything wrong with that; the world needed to see the Sisters and the strength of the White Tower, and the beneficial influence they had on the land at large. Of course, the return question wasn’t that much of a surprise, considering, “Do you feel the Tower is your home, Lillith? Aside from having spent so much time here, when you think of the word ‘home,’ are the quarters you were assigned here the image that springs to mind?”
Nodding briefly, she stood for a moment. Pacing before the bench, Lillith spoke slowly, “Considering that it’s all I’ve known for the vast majority of my life? I would say the Tower, and Tar Valon itself, is very much home to me.” She paused for a moment; her feet stopped their slow pacing before she continued, “And one cannot but live in the same quarters for half of their life without feeling as if they are a sanctuary of sorts. I came to learn, and to serve; what higher calling is there, but to serve the people of the land how I may? Granted, I don’t feel the call to go out to the villages and help feed the poor, as some of the Blues do, or the satisfaction a Yellow might receive from bringing someone back from the brink of death… but then, there really isn’t much call for someone explaining logical principles in those cases, is there?”
Shaking her head, she smiled briefly, “I do apologize if I go on; I’m a solitary person by nature, and tend to ramble as my thoughts normally do when I speak to others.” Sitting back down, she reached over and picked up her lapdesk. Opening it, she pulled out a couple of sandwiches, and upon closing the lapdesk, placed them on top. “I was actually planning on having some lunch out here, as you can see, but you’re welcome to join me to what I have with me.”
04 January (1:15am)
Nodding politely, Lillith responded, “That’s more than fine, Loraine. It’s a lovely day to be outside.” The Domani woman proceeded to sit down, and then started into her sandwich in a less-than-graceful, yet efficient manner. While the other woman might have had her spot of lunch, breakfast seemed an Age ago, and the White Sister didn’t feel overly worried that the taller woman was going to run off telling everyone that she had pigged out.
She couldn’t help but smile as the other Sister began to speak on logic, “For a Green, she seems to be a fairly grounded person… such a rare treat, it seems!” Unconsciously, she picked up the second sandwich and proceeded to devour that as Loraine picked up a flower, “I have yet to find the logic in a flower. I admit, being Green, my heart is not in logic, but in tactics and ‘saving the world.’ I haven’t had much time since leaving here to appreciate the simple beauty in a flower. There must be other ways for the flower to get the benefits of the flower without going through so much to produce one…”
Laughing softly, she blinked in surprise to realize that both her sandwiches appeared to have disappeared into thin air. Glaring at her stomach briefly, she shook her head and turned her attention to her companion, “Simple beauty sums up the logic of a flower in a nutshell.”
Standing up and moving in front of Loraine, Lillith leaned down and picked up a bloom of her own. Inhaling the light fragrance, she gestured off-handedly at the plant, “A flower exists to be attractive in order to draw the birds and insects forth to sample of its sweetness, and thereby spread its seed. The more attractive the flowers of the plant to the birds and the bees, the more likely it is to prosper.”
Tucking the bloom gently behind her belt, she moved back to the bench and resumed her seat, “Of course, it’s a bit… dry… to think of flowers as such. Better to simply enjoy their beauty, better than to dwell on their reason for existing. Light, I’m sometimes surprised that any of us can still find them enjoyable after years of Novice training!” She chuckled softly then, idly fingering the bloom at her waist, “Not that it’s the flower’s fault for it being such a ready example for children first learning their talents.”
04 January 2009 (4:30 am GMT)
“You know,” Lillith started slowly, “I actually didn’t notice the lack of roses here. Silly that, isn’t it?” She laughed softly, plucking the flower from her waist and twirling it before her face, “I guess for all the time out here, I’ve not really thought about what all is out here; I just enjoy the solitude and the sensations of being out in the open.”
Dropping her hand with the flower back into her lap, she mused furiously for a moment, “Why did she mention her Eyes and Ears to me? Perhaps it was a slip…” What she said, however, “A book is a good companion on a long trip… if someone else can guard your back long enough to get into it.”
Eying the flower again, she tapped her lip briefly, and continued, “As for madness… that which we cannot understand in others is ofttimes misinterpreted as ‘madness’. I know little of the Gaidin, not being bonded myself, but I can only guess that he is concerned for your well-being, and there’s not really room in his mind for those sentimental things which he fears may harm you. And I guess as being bonded to a Green probably gives a man all sorts of worries.” She smiled to express she didn’t mean it as an insult, and spoke on, “After all, it takes a certain level of what some might see as madness to be willing and ready to stand for whatever may come, to fight that which is wrong and evil in the world. I feel that I myself am not strong enough for such.. which is why I can both admire and be somewhat bemused by those of you that can do such things.”
04 January 2009 (8:14pm GMT)
Blinking in surprise, Lillith refrained from biting her lip, ”Is she… attempting to comfort me? I… I don’t know what to think..” It didn’t surprise her, not really; although she was fairly sure at this point that Loraine wasn’t trying to condescend, but rather be… sisterly?… sisterly, perhaps. ”It’s quite possible she has, in her past, thought that perhaps the other Ajahs served lesser purposes, and having learned otherwise over the years through interactions has made her somewhat more magnanimous that perhaps she had been as a younger Sister. Still, how to respond to such…”
She nodded slowly, the White Sister did, and she gave the impression of carefully picking out her words as she replied to the Green Sister comfortably seated in the grass beside her, “For all you’ve hinted at such this afternoon, I guess I have a bit… dense. I didn’t quite realize that you were the main force behind the shape this garden had taken before I found it.”
Lillith stood up then and stretched her arms above her head. Sighing slightly in contentment, she peered at the flower that Loraine had been explaining the history of, “As for battles of various sorts… well, it’s much like they told us when we were Novices and Accepted, isn’t it? While we might not all be out there physically fighting the forces of the Dark One, we are all doing our parts. I myself have been assisting Larindhra to some degree… or better to say, she’s politely tolerating a research project that I wanted to do.” She smiled, and gestured to her lapdesk tucked under the bench, “I’ve been sitting in with the Mistress of Novices as she interviews the incoming Novices and annotating their behaviors and attitudes. I intend to interview them further into their training, as well as talking with their teachers to understand the behavioral patterns of the children as they proceed through training. It might not be the most fascinating material, but I believe that understanding behavioral patterns is very useful for various purposes. After all, a battle cannot be fought and won without appropriate knowledge in several facets.” She chuckled ruefully, and sat back down on the bench, “Light, but I sound like a Brown at times myself; I’m pretty sure that Raeyn and the other Brown Sitters thought I’d be joining with them for many years.”
10 January 2009 (10:53pm GMT)
Lillith frowned slightly at the anger comment; it, to her, seemed to be a normal part of the frustration of thinking that you were a free person, only to realize that you were well and truly a child. “But,” she reasoned to herself, “No need to point that out. After all, every person wants to think that their emotions are unique and personal, not commonplace and standard…”
She brightened up when the subject turned to her studies, however, “I’ve only been on this particular task a few months now, mind you, but it’s already showing some fascinating results.” Leaning over, she tapped her lapdesk and continued, “Yes, cultural differences in the girls’ backgrounds do have some effect on how they integrate. After all, they grew up knowing that certain behaviors were acceptable in their country, or in their village, or whatever.” Lillith’s voice raised in pitch, and became more rushed as she continued, “Which, as we’ve seen in our own time as Novices, vary vastly from country to country. However, we’ve also seen how the training received moderates some of those extreme behaviors… at least through the training period.” She laughed briefly, “Of course, some of those behaviors reemerge once they are raised to the shawl, but there’s nothing that can be done about that. As long as they are able to understand the basic medium of decorum required for life in the Tower, it’s considered a satisfactory enough result.”
Leaning back over, she picked up her desk this time and plopped it back on the bench next to her. Opening it, she rifled through, picked up a folder, and waved it briefly, “But as said – there is a middle ground of behavior and attitude that those children in training conform to if they wish to make it through training. As you know, there are very rigorous standards to which the children have to conform to, and this sort of research is both complimentary and supplemental to the Mistress of Novice’s own work. This wasn’t the original intention of this work, but has been a pleasant surprise, as well as Larindhra’s willingness to let me ‘edge in’ on her domain….” “And, of course, the surprise of… friendship? Something…“.
She shook her head, and put the folder back down in her desk, “Anyways, I could go on at length, but in short – it’s just an interesting little study of behavioral patterns based on the somewhat drastic lifestyle change that the children have to make coming here. I don’t know exactly what real use it will be at this point, but I felt compelled to observe it.”
12 January 2009 (10:50pm GMT)
Lillith smiled and nodded, “I wouldn’t be surprised if your hypothesis rang true, Loraine. Of course, there are obvious exceptions to the rules; I myself would be considered one.” Her smile took on a wry twist, “Discounting the fact that all Domani women are supposed to be able to twist men around their fingers, I happened to be raised in a library. So I guess I’m most unrepentantly gone against the supposed grain twice-over.”
Shaking her head, she chuckled softly, “Still, a person’s background would invariably have an effect on where they ended up upon reaching the shawl, if they made it to the shawl in the first place. Of course, there are those that claim that with great strength in the One Power comes great strength of will, yet doesn’t it seem oxymoronic when applied to those who are weakest and are barely able to attain the shawl. To me, those who know that they are barely eligible would be the strongest, in having to work so hard knowing that the slightest failing would see them going back to a life of… well, whatever they were doing before the Tower.” The White Sister shrugged, “But then, that’s not an opinion I would speak too freely either; things as they are in the Tower at current would probably find little favor with such a statement.”
18 January 2009 (2:45am GMT)
Sighing slightly, Lillith repeated a benison she held close to her heart, “The Tower has survived and will continue to survive. While I’m not foolish enough to think that we shall survive by virtue of being us, I do believe that if people are willing to remember our purpose as Servants of All and do our work as best we may, we shall continue to endure, no matter the hardship.”
Tucking her notes back in her lapdesk, she spoke musingly, “As for the children burning themselves out… we all do our best to make sure they don’t leap ahead of what they are able to do, but I don’t think we can scare them nearly well enough to keep them from running headlong into the abyss. Of course, it doesn’t help that burning out isn’t nearly as fearsome a thing as it used to be…”
She trailed off, cocking her head. The sound of bells drifted into the garden, signifying the time. Closing her desk, she scooped it into her arms and stood, smiling apologetically, “I do hate to rush off on this, but one of the Sitters wanted to discuss something with me at this time. It has been lovely talking with you and sharing the garden, and perhaps we can do it some other time. For now, enjoy… and perhaps I shall see you sometime again.”
With that, she nodded and started strolling briskly back to the Tower.