Another sleepless night full of bad dreams.
Anything to escape the bad dreams. Even rising long before the sun itself rose.
And yet, that’s what Mariasha herself did. Of course, this came on top of her normally strenuous routine of training and drinking, so the young Andoran woman was left feeling flimsy, almost insubstantial.
Still, she stumbled through her morning ablutions and found herself outside before the raising sun felt the need to make an appearance. Some of the trainees were already hard at work under the eye of brighter-eyed instructors than herself; she preferred to run afternoon courses when Thera managed to corner her into teaching.
Climbing up to her accustomed spot on the fence, she settled into a brown study of the trainees. Pretty much everyone around the Yards knew it was her habit to spend some time watching the newer people train while she woke up enough to go grab a bite to eat, and especially considering the hour, knew better than to disturb her; she’d made it clear to many unwary folk that she was not a morning person.
So it came as something of a surprise when someone crossed through the sparse population of the Yard and came right at her… someone looking very familiar! Rubbing sleep out of eyes, Mari blinked, expecting the person coming towards her to vanish; her Aes Sedai had been gone for years, she had to be dead.
Which left her one conclusion – it had to be her Aes Sedai’s spirit come back to haunt her! Attempting to stand and warn those around her of the spirit, exhaustion and shock overcame her, and she fainted dead away, falling off the fence.
When she came to, Mariasha found herself in an unfamiliar room. Groaning softly, she could felt even weaker and more tired than she had before waking the first time that day. Suddenly, a face leaned over her; it was Taeadra’s spirit again!
With a gasp, she waved her arms feebly to try and drive the spirit out of her line of sight, and was very surprised to meet flesh. Blinking, she felt a small jolt of shock and pain in her head, “In… my.. head.. WHAT?!”
She fainted again.
20 August 2008
As she came back to consciousness again, Mari continued to lay on the bed with her eyes closed, ”Okay Mari,”, she thought to herself as she attempted to take stock of the day, ”You’ve seen a wraith, fallen off a wall.. oh Light..”
Hesitantly opening her eyes again, Mari realized pretending she might still be out was in vain, considering that which had returned to her head. Still, even with that in mind, it seemed that perhaps Taeadra hadn’t quite realized that her Warder had come to. “Perhaps she’s as unused to having the bond back in place as me,” she though wryly as she tried to sit up, ”Or perhaps she’s preoccupied to the point she’s not noticed I’ve awoken.”..
Trying to push up feebly, she slowly wobbled her head towards Taeadra, “How… are… you… here?!” the weary red-headed woman attempted to demand. She managed to wobble a weak arm up towards Taeadra’s slightly startled face, though she had to wonder if the effort was worth it.
The part of her that was Taeadra went very still as the White Sister brought over two mugs of tea, “Sit and drink first. Slowly now.” Tae instructed firmly, as was the older woman’s nature. Shooting her Sister a mild glare, Mari weakly wrestled herself closer to upright, and as if putting her hand on the mug was a signal, was absurdly grateful to have something on hand to whet her even more parched-feeling throat with.
In spit of not trying to gulp it down, it was almost as fast as blinking; Mariasha pushed the mug back towards the woman sitting at her side to request a refill. Taeadra wordlessly put her mug down and attended to refilling Mari’s; the bond was still very still, as if the Aes Sedai were trying to hide something.
Sighing softly, Mari decided to take a belated moment to figure out where they were. It had seemed ages since she’d been here in her Sister’s rooms, but there was a sense of familiarity under the faint sheen of dust, “I guess the servants only bothered to poke their heads in here every few weeks or so,” she mused to herself, trying to think on anything but the strange events of the day. Not.. that she could really avoid them, with Taeadra’s return, and the growing thead of anxiety creeping in through the bond as the other woman returned with another mug of tea.
Murmuring gratitude, Mari blew on the tea briefly to cool it. She plunged her head through the wisps of steam and took a very healthy gulp of the fresh glass. Placing it back on the table with extreme care, she turned her attention back to Taeadra, “There… is a lot I could be asking right now…” she started, fighting down the urge to smile as the thread of anxiety expanded, along with a wave of concern, “But I don’t think that I’m going to be in any shape for this until I’ve had a meal or three… I take it I’ve been Healed?” Tae nodded assent, though it wasn’t as if she needed to.
Mariasha nodded back, and braced her flimsy arms against the mattress. Alarm raced into the bond as Taeadra gently pushed her back down, “I’ll go fetch you something. You’re not ready to be out of this bed yet, so stay here until I get back.” Command rolled naturally off of her Sister’s tongue, and Mari could only bend her head in agreement for the time being.
25 August 2008
As Taeadra exited the room, Mari let herself collapse back onto the bed. “Riiight, show how sorted out you are… try standing, brilliant,” Mariasha muttered to herself, squeezing her eyes shut. She couldn’t remember a time she had felt so weak before, and part of her knew this wasn’t really the time to actually be in the weaker position!
Taking a deep breath, she inched herself backwards against the headboard, and feebly turned over. Grabbing onto the side of the headboard, she carefully levered herself back up into a sitting position; she leaned against the headboard with her legs dangling off the bed. Gulping air, she grumbled to herself and had a bit more tea.
As she leaned against the headboard sipping her tea, the young Warder let her frustration and annoyance melt away. In truth, she was still in too much of a state of shock to register it all, and found it much easier to focus on her weakened physical state. She had heard from some of the other Warders who had been on campaign with their Sisters that Healing did tend to make a person weaker, but that they were able to draw on the added strength the bond provided to continue on… so why couldn’t she?
Granted, Taeadra had been gone for so long… longer than the time before she left when the bond was still new. As it were, Taeadra’s presence was… almost uncomfortable in her head after all this time… had it been as such before?
She was musing on this when she felt Taeadra pausing nearby. Putting the tea down, Mari leaned away from the headboard; she felt it was important to at least look as if she weren’t as feeble as she felt, ”Even if all Taeadra has to do is pay attention to what’s in her head,” she thought wryly as the door opened.
“I am sure you have many questions, but I would suggest you eat your fill and gain some strength back,” Taeadra announced firmly as she carried the tray over. The White Sister flashed a stern glance at the younger Andoran woman as she placed the tray on the side table, and Mari scootched herself back against the headboard as she reached for the cutlery.
Taeadra had brought up a mountain of food, it seemed, but the famishment that followed Healing drove Mariasha through it all in short order. Squinting at the empty plates, she turned her attention to the White Sister. “Ask what you will, I will answer what I can,” Taeadra spoke, gesturing towards the woman sitting on the bed beside her. Opening her mouth, Mari started to speak… but was stopped when a yawn escaped.
“I… think…,” she started, punctuation each word with another yawn, “I think that I should maybe go back to sleep. We can try this again tomorrow.. mmkay?” Mari smiled at the touch of shock that rolled through the bond, but as she let herself slid back flat against the bed, her thoughts died off and sleep rolled over her almost instantly.
04 September 2008
To sleep, perchance to dream…
To dream, perchance, but perhaps not to remember; at least, no memories from the latest sleep remained in the young Warder’s mind as she stirred towards consciousness. The bone-weariness and weakness of the prior day appeared to have sloughed off in the night, and Mariasha felt more rested than she had in some time.
In her mind, she could almost pretend that the last 2 years or so of solitude were all a dream; she could feel Taeadra standing off to the side deep in thought, and smell breakfast from the nearby table. ”She spends as much time as a Brown in studious thought, but hides it better,” Mari thought fondly as she easily sat up and swung her legs around to hang off the side of the bed.
She stood and stretched; the motion felt wonderful after having slept for a day! Her dear Sister still stood in deep thought staring at a painting above the mantle, muttering to herself. The Andoran woman couldn’t help but smile as she sauntered up to join Taeadra, accidentally brushing the other woman’s shoulder as she did so.
For all Tae’s outward reaction, the bond jumped briefly, “I trust you slept well. I have had one of the servants bring breakfast… I assume you are still hungry?” Taeadra gestured behind her shoulder, her gaze still intent on the painting. With a widening of her smile into an outright grin, Mari casually bowed before heading over to the food.
And Light, she was still hungry! Slathering butter and jam generously on some of the toast, Mari called out, “Why don’t you come join me for some breakfast, then, and tell me about this painting that you’re so intently staring at. I’m guessing that it’s something important to you, and I’ve never thought to ask about it before.”
15 September 2008 (6:15pm BST)
Mari poured up some tea for both herself and Taeadra as the other woman settled into the chair across the table. The White Sister nodded distractedly as she began setting up some breakfast for herself.
Presently, Taeadra spoke, and spoke at length. Mariasha was sort of aware of what tests an initiate of the Tower went through, but obviously not the details thereof. Still, it perplexed her to have Taeadra open up like this. This was a woman who lived fully in control of herself and her surroundings, and it was almost frightening to feel the little pulses of fear that went along with her recollection of events.
Fear of the Dark One and his destruction though was something that anyone in the Yards would empathize with. She knew that her Aes Sedai opposed the Dark One fervently, so why was she so surprised by the fear?
Shaking her head, Mari speared another piece of ham onto her plate. Chewing thoughtfully for a moment, she swallowed and looked across the table. Taeadra had turned her attention to a piece of bread, and was buttering it with a studied fury; did she feel as if she’d said too much? “That sounds pretty… harrowing, Tae. I wouldn’t want to pit myself against such a test.. and yet, this is something expected of all of your Sisters, isn’t it?” The pain in Taeadra’s suddenly upturned eyes was answer enough, and Mari shook her head yet again, “But then, your lot carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. But cheer up – you have some support in your Gaidin, right?” A merry twinkle flashed in Mariasha’s eyes, and she poured another round of tea.
15 September 2008 (9:14pm BST)
“Why is Taeadra so antsy? Why can’t she just be happy that things are back to normal?” Mari mused to herself, suffering a quick pang of irritation before joy smothered it again. It was truly hard to be upset about things at the exact moment, but Tae had seemed somewhat subdued and on edge since returning. Mari had initially attributed it to her Sister’s concern over her Warder’s well-being, but now the young Andoran woman didn’t know what to make of it at all!
“Tell me of lighter things Mariasha, anything.” Tae smiled across the table, seeming somewhat at ease for the first time since her return. Grinning back, Mari started to tell about some of the new arrivals to the Yards, and their amusing mess-ups during training, their misconceptions, and how it all rolled into a big ball of undignified fun for the more senior Tower Guards and Warders to chuckle at in remembrance. And speaking of remembering…
“I dare say, Tae, that I probably should report back to the Yards. I’m sure that Thera is wondering what became of me, and I should probably let the trainees I was going to help yesterday know what became of me so they don’t think I ran out on them a-purpose.” Flashing a grin, she patted Taeadra’s hand before standing, “I’m sure we can get back to our catching up over dinner.” She bowed formally, “Until then, Aes Sedai.” A smile flashed across her lips again, and Mariasha was out the door.