New Shield for the Flame

Standing outside the Tower Gates, Mariasha stared off into the streets – it was always nice to watch people from all lands mingling. North or West, East or South, all came to Tar Valon on business, and it made for a nice distraction… one doesn’t expect to lose their Sister, but though it had been some time since Taeadra Sedai had vanished from the Tower and from her mind, she still found herself awash with sadness and an urge for revenge.. but on what? No, not worth thinking about, not on such a nice morning with such a nice meal…

She sighed to herself and adjusted one of the daggers poking herself in the side, when an Accepted and a young man came dashing up to the gate. “Light!”, she thought to herself in wry amusement, “That girl looks like she’s been rolling in the mud… I wonder if she even has permission to be out, as oddly as she is acting… though that could be for the boy with her.” Mari watched them talk for a moment, but before she could consider stepping out of her corner on the side of the gates, the Accepted had already dashed through, leaving a confused young man staring out after her.

Shrugging to herself, Mariasha walked up behind the young man, a bemused smile on her face. “I’m guessing you’re either very new to this town, or either very foolish – it’s not a good idea to be seen talking to women who are training in the White Tower. If that sort of thing gets back to the Mistress of Novices, she’s as likely to track you down for a few licks as she is to give them to that girlchild as well.”

The young man jumped in surprise, so intent he was in staring through the gate at the other woman’s fleeing figure. “Sorry to scare you,” she chuckled, “I just don’t like seeing people make fools of themselves… what brings you out this way?”


Mariasha’s smile turned into a wide grin as the flustered young man before her spoke, “My name is Toromin Doanshar. I’ve studied the Aes Sedai and learned about their place in the world. I believe we would be much worse off without them, but I know there are people… and non-people… trying to hurt them.” Where was I going with this again? Now I can’t remember the rest… well, nothing for it, then. “I’ve come to Tar Valon to become a Warder, to protect the Aes Sedai from their enemies, and the enemies of the Light.”.

She stretched her arms over her head for a moment before crossing them against her chest, “So then, new to town, and just a random encounter on the way here, it was.” She tapped her lip and eyed the young man mock-sternly, “I’ll say my initial word of warning should be sufficient for now – careful when it comes to the girls in training in the Tower… but I won’t report that little kiss I saw to either the Mistress of Novices or the Mistress of Trainees.” The relief on his face was palpable, though his eyes widened a fraction at mention of a yet another person who might have a switch with his name on it for a simple kiss!

Mariasha continued, “Now, if you want, I can take you to Thera, the Mistress of Trainees, and she can get you set up for the evening… though I’d recommend getting the blushing in line.” She flashed a wicked smile, “I’m sure the girl was pretty, but Thera is pretty good at sniffing out reasons to take a switch to those in her care! She is a firm believer in rules, and keeping people in line.” She winked, and bit down a giggle. “Really,” Mariasha thought to herself, “I’m getting a bit too old to giggle at every little thing!!”


“Thank you, ma’am.” He cut short the realization that she hadn’t given her name yet. Perhaps that’s the way things were here. “It would be my honor to see the Mistress of Trainees.”, young Toromin said, looking quite formal.

Mariasha suppressed another grin – had she ever been this formal with the Tower Gaurds and Warders when she was in training? “T’would by my honor, young Toromin, to lead you to Thera.” She gave a half-bow and gestured for him to follow.

“I probably should introduce myself,” she started, maneuvering around a handful of petitioners heading away from the Tower, “My name is Mariasha, Mariasha Gaidin to you if anyone is looking.” She nodded to another passing Warder before continuing, “and you might have noticed, if you weren’t staring too hard at your friend the Accepted that I too am a woman.” She smiled to take any possible sting out of the teasing, “Although there are more men than women training here, there are quite a few of us female sorts who chose this path for our lives. My teacher was a woman, and probably one of the toughest Warders there ever was around these parts. Not to say that she was especially strong, but she knew what she was about.” Her right hand slid momentarily to caress the scabbard hanging on that side, unaware of the sadness that clouded her face.

All too soon they were in front of Thera’s door. Mariasha knocked and turned to Toro while waiting for Thera to answer, “If you have any questions or need someone to vent at – training is hard, and sometimes we all need someone to talk to, feel free to come pester me, okay? And don’t worry – everything should be fine.” She winked, and the door opened. Mariasha saluted Thera, fist to heart, and gestured towards Toromin, “Hey Thera, you’ve got some fresh meat. Gentle on him, I think he’s had an odd day.”