Lillith unconsciously tightened her shawl about her shoulders as she walked back to the Tower. She had been in town putting her annual wages in the bank, and had hoped the relative cold would have kept people inside, instead of crowding the streets. “No such luck,” she thought to herself, “This town is always too crowded, too full of humanity…”
She shook her head; such thoughts were moot. Tar Valon would always be crowded, though for all the White Sister thought on it, she couldn’t understand why people would wish to live in such a boisterous environment. “At least the Tower is quiet and spacious; most conducive to thinking and observing without getting run over by an inattentive passerby.”
As she passed through the gate, she was suddenly stopped by a figure tugging on her white sleeve, “S’cuse me miss, but where do i go to become an Aes Sedai?”.
Lillith’s eyebrows raised sharply, “Child,” she began, and stopped. She sighed mentally, and looked up at the excited young woman standing before her, “Words fail me right now on how much you are in need of learning right now, and I am not the one to teach you.”
Her dark eyes tightened momentarily; how she loathed random people coming up to her like this! But at least she had a way to get rid of this child, “The one you seek to ‘become an Aes Sedai’, as it were, would be the Mistress of Novices. I will guide you there, if only that it is on the way to where I myself am headed. Follow me, please, and do not get lost.”
Nodding, Lillith spun on her heel and headed into the Tower proper. She was not terribly familiar with the new Mistress of Novices, but had heard good things about the woman in question. “I wonder how many.. children… come to the Tower like this; a bundle of excitement and energy ready to leap before they look,” the young White mused to herself as she continued deeper into the Tower, “Perhaps Larindhra would answer me some questions on the topic, or let me observe her initial interview with some of these children.
She continued to think on this line of thought until she reached the Mistress of Novice’s office. She knocked on the door, and turned to the young woman with her. As the Red Sister called out for them to enter, Lillith spoke, “Wait here for a moment child while I speak to Larindhra Sedai.” She stared at the young woman for a moment, and entered without waiting for a reply.
The Red Sister currently serving as the Mistress of Novices looked up at her entrance; a hint of question resting in her eyes, “Yes… Lillith, is it? What brings you to my office? Not in need of Mortification of the Flesh or anything of the sort, I’d hope?” Lillith ignored the bemusement in the older Sister’s eye and spoke, “No, Larindhra. I was stopped by a young woman on my way back to the Tower asking how to become an Aes Sedai.” The White shook her head in bemusement at the child’s audacity before continuing, “She’s outside. I don’t know if she’s been tested or anything yet, but I figured the quickest way to get rid of her was to bring her to you.”
Larindhra stood up and opened her mouth to speak, but Lillith cut her off, “I know this might seem an odd request, but might I stay and observe her interview? Her.. impetuousness sparked a few questions about peoples’ motives for coming and trying to join our number, and I’m curious as to what she has to say.”
A small smile quirked to Lillith’s lips. She had heard that the women holding the position of Mistress of Novices were generally possessive of her charges, and Larindhra just proved that rumor. Still, the Domani woman was not one to give up on an idea when she had one, and was grateful that it wouldn’t come to a battle of wills with a Sister who was her elder, and serving the Tower in a higher capacity. “Thank you Larindhra,” Lillith smiled, knowing fully well that the show of obsequience would probably make the Red Sister chuckle, “for allowing me this whim. I will bring the girl in.”
Opening the door, she gestured to the young Malkerei woman to enter. With a nod to the Red Sister, she helped herself to spare writing materials and settled into the chair.
“Ah, my apologies, Lillith Sedai. I never actually saw an Aes Sedai before.”
Light, but how this child was stepping on herself left and right! But still, the White Sister had agreed to sit quietly and let the Mistress of Novices do her job, and she was sticking to that. “And besides,” Lillith thought to herself, “I spoke truly when I said I was not the one to be teaching her these lessons… those will come from Larindhra, from her actual teachers, from her mentor… those people who choose to become involved in this child’s life, not me.”
Still, she scribbled on the notepad before her:
Child exhibits excitement and nervousness. Probably read too many stories about Aes Sedai while growing up, and romanticized the whole experience. Perhaps is starting to realize that whatever she was earlier in her life, she is truly a child again at this point.
And the young woman explained the colour of her ki’sain, Lillith added:
Tenancy towards ‘white’ lies. Need to ascertain degree of dishonesty, and how this has affected her decision-making process.
Taking a moment to clean and sharpen her nib, she waited expectantly for more of the interview.
Lillith reviewed her notes on the new Novice as Larindhra puttered around the office preparing tea. At least, she was pretending to review the notes; her eyes obliquely followed the older woman. “She seems a bit agitated,” the young White thought to herself, “I do hope she’ll explain why.”
She was forced out of her reverie as Lari drew up a chair and poured the tea. Nodding her thanks, Lillith took the proffered cup and joined the Mistress of Novices in a few sips.
“So, what did you make of that? I must confess I lost my temper a bit; we Borderlanders are quite… serious about our traditions and heritage. Jerinia wearing the red ki’sain when not entitled to… well, that put my back up a bit.” The older sister smiled, and continued, “Not exactly proper Aes Sedai behavior on my part, I suppose, but then I’ve always been of the opinion that we all have our faults. As long as we recognize them and work on them, that’s what counts.”
Lillith smiled into her tea, “That’s an understandable reason for agitation… and her logic is sounder than anything I would have ever expected out of a Red. Still…
She looked up, “We do indeed have our faults, but I think that most people prefer to ignore them… Or can’t banish the bloody things; oh, these walls… I’d say you have a bit of a White streak in you, Larindhra, but then, most do… and wouldn’t dare admit to such.” Shaking her head, Lillith turned her eyes to her teacup again, “As for pride, one could say it’s the glue that binds a nation together.”
The White Sister shook herself again, and carefully set her tea aside. She picked up her notes and held them towards Larindhra, “Anyways, on this… impetuous child… I am thinking that she is one of those with an over-romanticized view of the White Tower, and that she’s in for a stiff dose of reality!” A small chuckle escaped Lillith’s lips, “And as for this lying business of hers, I think that we can count on your Shevara to straighten her out, if she’s even only a fraction as fierce as her reputation makes her out to be… I take it that this assignation was a-purpose?”
14 July 2008
Lillith frowned sadly; it was the most emotion she had probably shown in days, but she couldn’t help herself in this instance. “Yes,” she murmured in assent, “We are.. but what is there to do, really?” Sipping her tea, she continued with a bit of heat to her voice, “Those Sisters who are out in the world doing… whatever… should be making stronger efforts to test and find girls, but it’s not like we can make them deviate from their precious tasks.” Her voice held traces of unaccountable bitterness as she continued, “We do dwindle, with less girls found every year, and most of them who come seeking to be Aes Sedai being ungifted fools following romantic notions, as you so aptly put it.
Taking another sip of the tea, she put the cup down, picked up a biscuit, and idly fingered it as she went on, “I was one of those… reluctant ones myself,” Lillith spoke; her lips quirked into a small smile at the slight widening of Lari’s eyes, “I was the only family my father had, and while he might have been a reluctant parent at best, I still feel I did him a disservice by agreeing to come to the White Tower. But logically.. logically.. it seemed for the best to have my abilities trained to better serve mankind.”
14 August 2008
Lillith almost jumped a mile in her skin when Lari reached over and patted her; she’d let her emotions run away with her in a manner that was… well, considered unseemly for one of her Ajah.
Still, if she thought about it, it made sense in a way that she’d let herself go with the Mistress of Novices, whomever the woman. Lacking a mother growing up, the young White Sister had been more open with the woman filling the position as she came up through the Tower. “I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that I find myself spilling my soul out to the woman filling the position now,” she mused ruefully, as she turned her attention back to what the woman before her was saying.
“…fear that if it is the centuries, we will have dwindled to nothing.” the older woman finished with a bleak look crossing her face. Lillith blinked again, and picked up her teacup to hide a small smile, “It seems that we’re both in a sharing mood, then,” she thought, taking a small sip before placing the cup back on the table.
Suddenly, a knock echoed through the door, and Lillith stood, “It seems your work calls, Sister,” Lillith smiled softly as she pushed the chair back in, “And as for Last Battle.. we will make due as we can.”
Crossing the small room, she turned back to the Red Sister, “If you wish sometime, perhaps, we could discuss this another time,” she said, “But for now, I bid you good day.”
She opened the door, and eyed the red-faced Novice without as she strode past; Lillith wasn’t sure what quite had happened this day, but it seemed that something had happened… and possibly something quite good.