Rendra sat on her bed in her chambers working through a channeling exercise. In spite of her original reticence to ‘become a witch’, she had given in at the simple prospect of actually being taught something! That, and having come to accept that she could do so much more with the Power… and avoid getting messy.
Since coming in for her training, Rendra had been able to get some lovely dresses made. Blood-red silk cut in the style of the Taraboner nobility clung and folded about her form, and made her more conscious about how she walked and where she sat. In short, she was doing her best to emulate how she thought noble women held themselves, and wasn’t falling too short of it; not that Rendra would ever admit this – she still hated the nobility and their spiteful nasty ways!
Suddenly, she felt someone embrace Saidar outside her modest chambers, and gasped as her door was flung open on a weave of Air. As she dropped the One Power in her shock, a vaguely familiar Dreadlady entered the room, “Rendra Harella,” she intoned, “You are to follow me, ask no questions, and above all – do not embrace Saidar. You are to be tested for Adept status this day.”
Rendra gulped and nodded, biting back questions and retorts – to argue with your betters here was a sure path to the grave.
Eventually, they reached a great pair of doors elsewhere in the Fortress. “To be tested, you must enter here, and simply make it through to the other side.” The older woman’s eyes glittered malevolently, “Of course, you could die, as so many have before you. If you do make it through, you shall be raised to an Adept in the Great Lord’s service.” Her tone left no doubt that she expected Rendra to die.
What could she do, then? She could only go on.
The heavy door slammed shut behind Rendra, plunging the Taraboner woman into darkness. Drawing on Saidar, she formed a small glove of light… only to be confronted with three different passageways standing open in front of her. ”Blood and bloody ashes!” she thought to herself, peering at each path in turn, ”A maze perhaps? It can’t be worse than the alleys in Tanchico… I hope.” Taking a deep breath, she started down the path on the right.
Some time later, she was yet again backtracking. At least, she was pretty sure she was. Rendra normally had a pretty good sense of direction, but this place was impossible! In frustration, she scooped up a rock and flung it at the wall. The sound echoed through the corridor as Rendra peered at the wall where the rock hit. There she noted a small mark from where the rock had struck. A thought entered her mind.. could she mark her way?
Drawing deeper on the One Power, she experimented. After a few minutes, Rendra found that a small fireball would leave just enough of a scorch mark on the wall to be a useful marker.
She turned to try another passage when she heard a furtive shuffling sound. Stifling a gasp, Rendra dropped her wave of light, put her hand against the wall, and listened carefully. Again, she could hear someone. ”Probably in an adjacent corridor,” she thought nervously to herself, and proceeded to carefully sidle her way along the wall.
Suddenly, the wall exploded where she had been standing. Unable to suppress a scream, she started running. She could see by the light of… whomever… was behind her, but she fully intended to get herself lost. ”Who was that?!” Rendra thought incredulously as she tried to run quietly without success, ”It HAD to be a man; I felt nothing!”
After some indeterminable amount of time, she finally slowed and stopped. Gulping air, Rendra slid down the wall to sit and gather her racing thoughts, ”Great, it’s a maze, and there’s someone channeling at me. What’s next, collapsing floors and sharp objects?!” Sighing softly, she picked herself up and continued walking. As she slid her hand along the wall, she came to a patch that was soft… warm.. and pulsating?!
Light suddenly flared into being, illuminating a smirking man. Screaming yet again, she managed to shove down fear and unreason long enough to slam up a wall of Air before fleeing again.
… … …
Of course, there has been plenty of fireballs, other close encounters, various pitfalls and pratfalls unmentioned until this point… but your mind can fill in those as you wish! But for now, let’s see some self-fulfilling prophecy.
… … …
Gulping air, Rendra’s steps dragged; the fingers of one hand traced along the wall, the other supported the smallest ball of light she could muster. ”No more,” she thought as despair snuggled deeper into her heart, “Will this never end?!”
Suddenly, her footing slipped as the paving stone she was half off of crumbled to dust, and opened onto a pit full of spikes. Rendra managed to grab the edge of another stone to keep from falling in. Tears welled in her eyes as she tried to lift herself up. She managed; the sound of her skirts ripping off echoed lightly through the passageway as she worked herself free.
Several turns later, Rendra was finally approaching a door similar to the one she had entered through. She stared stupidly for a moment before pushing herself to take those final few steps.
The light was almost blinding as she stumbled out of the horrid maze and back into civilization. Rendra reached her hands out to try and catch herself as she began to fall, and was stopped from it by a wall of flesh. Rubbing her eyes, she looked up to see who had stopped her fall, only for yet another scream to cord in her throat – it was the same bloody man from the maze.
He stepped back with yet another blasted smirk on his face, “Now there, kitten, you’ve made it through and are now an Adept… nice legs, by the way.”
Biting back a yelp, she glared at the smirking stranger, gathered what shreds of skirt and dignity she had remaining in her hands, and attempted to glide off gracefully.