Mariasha sang to herself as she wandered down the streets of Tar Valon. The town was its normal hubbub of noise and activity, for which she was grateful. She didn’t consider herself that great a singer, but being in such a fine mood, she couldn’t help herself. It was a gorgeous day, and she was very pleased to be free of duties. It hadn’t taken her that long to figure out what she wanted to do with such a lovely day, and that was to spend it outdoors.
But before she could implement her devious and glorious plan, she had several stops in mind, which was why she found herself singing her fool head off and wandering around town. ”First things first,” she thought to herself, ”I’m going to need a basket.” This proved to be no problem, as she was aware of a basket-weaver who sold her goods in the open market east of the Tower. ”I can probably get everything I need for this little trip at the open market,” she thought cheerfully as she approached her destination.
Nodding to herself, she stopped before entering the row of stalls. Musing aloud, she began listing what she needed, “A basket, a bit of linen, some things to eat…”
23 February 2009 (10:17pm)
Satisfied with her list, Mariasha entered the market proper. Her first task, she had decided, was to find a suitable basket. Strolling up the aisle, she noted other stalls to hit up on her way back down. But even if she didn’t need to do any shopping, she couldn’t help but love this sort of thing. There was a certain… energy, a certain showmanship to these bazaars, and she loved hearing people call out their wares in over-the-top creative ways.
Perking up, she spotted a woman selling baskets. After some haggling, Mari was striding away to hit up a cloth stand she had seen on passing, only to be distracted by a bit of discordant yelling coming from a nearby stall, “You thief! Don’t try to steal my goods right under my nose! I tell you the prices, either you pay or you leave!”
Mariasha blinked in surprise, pushed her basket up her arm, and strode forward to the source of the shouting. “I’m sorry, Sir. I didn’t meant to…” the boy said while the shopkeep carried on. “Excuse me, sir,” Mariasha interjected, hooking a thumb at the boy, “Was he actually stealing anything?” Casually resting her free hand on the hilt of a dagger, she raised her eyebrows questioningly. “N-n-noo, ma’am,” the shopkeep stuttered out, “H-h-he was just trying to make me sell him things for prices that I’d not even sell things to my aged grandmother for, I promise!” Snorting derisively, she leaned across the stall counter and got right into the shopkeep’s face, “If that is going to be your attitude, I will inform my friends amongst the Warders, Tower Guards, and Aes Sedai that you have a lack of compassion for those that are in worst straights than yourself, and to not give you their custom. Good day, sir.” Ignoring his spluttering, she grabbed the newcomer’s arm, “Come on, kid.”
Pulling him a few stalls down, she looked down very slightly into his pale green eyes, “Are you okay, kid? You’re not actually trying to steal anything, I hope?” She smiled warmly; no reason to scare the kid… unless he actually was stealing something.
24 February 2009 (12:30am GMT)
Chuckling softly, Mariasha dipped her head in greeting, “Hello Llewelyn, I’m Mariasha, Mariasha Valnar. My Aes Sedai is Taeadra of the White Ajah, but past that, I don’t know that many Aes Sedai.” She grinned merrily, and nodded to her basket, “Myself, I was planning to have a little picnic. I’m just here picking up… well, everything for it, really. I was heading to that fabric stand over there,” she gestured off to her right, “to pick up some linen next before deciding what foodstuffs to get.”
Raising an eyebrow, she gestured to Llewelyn to follow her, “As for trouble… well, I take it you’re not used to city traders yet, then? Even here in Tar Valon, they’ll try to gut you for every penny they can. You’ll get used to it in time; he probably just sensed that you’ve not had much experience with his sort. And,” she laughed again, shifting the basket to the other arm, “I’ve probably scared the poor bloke enough that he’ll be very generous to his customers for the rest of the day.”
Stopping at the stand she’d eyeballed earlier, she handed Llewelyn the basket, “You’re welcome to join me for my picnic, if you wish. I’m sure that you probably have it in your head to explore the town, but that can come a bit later. You’re going to have a lot of acclimatizing to do, after all, so better to play it safe until Thera has you all sorted out, I would say.” She winked, and started eying the linen samples on the table.
25 February 2009 (4:45pm GMT)
Raising an eyebrow, Mari walked over to the fallen guy and offered her arm, “Here there, let’s get you up. Ever think about watching where you’re going?” He eyes twinkled merrily to match the smile playing across her lips before she turned her attention to her new little friend, who was just scampering back, “Here, don’t drop it again, you might really lose it to some thief next time.”
“I take it by your blush, Llewelyn, that you feel you might have done something wrong. Well…” she laughed in earnest then, “Considering that this isn’t a training or a battle situation, I guess I’m going to have to let you live.” She winked turning her attention to the guy she had helped up, “You look familiar… do I know you from around the Yards? Either way, it seems you’re as in good a place as any to get patched up, at least once we decide what linen suits our various purposes best.” She eyed his wounds in bemusement, wondering if she should continue to offer her arm, or if that might offend the poor injured fellow.
28 February 2009 (4:14pm)
Chuckling to herself as Llewelyn doctored over Visar, Mariasha thought, “This kid is going to make something of himself. That is, if he doesn’t step on all his teachers’ toes with his enthusiasm. After all, have to be a good follower to be a good leader…”
She was drawn out of her reverie when Llewelyn addressed her yet again, “This’ll hold a while, he might as well be another guest for your picnic. That way, we’ll be sure to drop him by the infirmary when we get back to the Tower. What would you say?”
Nodding, she smoothed the just-purchased linen down into the basket before handing it back to the Saldaean boy, “Food is generally a good thing to have after an injury. Plus, if you decide to have a relapse, grass, mud, and rivers tend to be a tad more forgiving than pavement.” She winked, and waving her hand, led her party onward.
With two males in tow, the basket was quickly overladen with meat and mead. All sorts of excellent nibbles had made their way in, and Mari was most definitely looking even more forward to this little outing. She hadn’t expected to pick up company, not really, but on such a nice a day is this, might as well share the good times!
It was only a short walk to the river on this side of town, and in no time, they were being let out onto the bank from a small pedestrian gate. “Thanks Tad, don’t work too hard!” she laughed, striding through with her companions in tow.
The grass was dry beneath a clear sky, as the Warder had hoped it would be, “Good thing too – didn’t get enough cloth to sit on or anything as extravagant as that!” Still, she spread out a portion of linen and began to unload some of the goodies onto it. “I don’t know about you two, but I’m hungry.” She smiled, and gestured towards the food, “Shall we dig in? I mean, after all, there is quite a bit here, and it shouldn’t go to waste.”
05 March 2009 (9:48pm GMT)
Eying the sun, Mari sprawled out on her stomach and watched the byplay between the trainees. It had been some years since she had been amongst their number, and it was amusing to watch their byplay. Had she herself been that nervous about getting into trouble when she was amongst their number? It was hard for her to remember; the passing of years had colored everything rosy.
So it didn’t come to much surprise that the children were quickly reminded of a need to return back to the Yards. Granted, the boy who had jumped into the river, Elyan, was probably freezing by now… tapping her lip, she shook out the linen they had used as a groundsheet and stood, “Here… Elyan, was it? You might want something a little drier than your own skin.” She winked, and stood up with the proffered ‘garment’.
“As for the rest of you… I’m sad to hear you’re going already. Myself, I’m going to enjoy the rest of the day… maybe I’ll drill a bit, or maybe I’ll go fishing. I’ve not decided yet; all I know is that it’s a lovely day, and I’m determined to spend as much of it outside.”
08 March 2009 (12:15am GMT)
“If I had to stake a guess, I’m guessing that young man leading the two-person parade back to the Yard is soon to be raised to the Guard, yes?” Mariasha laughed, and peered around for a suitable branch. Exclaiming in delight, she spotted a likely one nearby, and picked it up for inspection. Nodding in satisfaction, she sat back down and fished a small case out of her belt pouch, “You can tell, you see, with those about to get raised. They get all pomp and dignity at thinking about not being a trainee anymore and all the honor and duty that supposedly come with it… but really, it just means training the same and having to stand watches besides.”
Gesturing Elyan and Edana over with her branch, she then took out her dagger and whittled a notch into the top. Nodding in satisfaction, she opened her small case to reveal a few hooks and a couple of meters of line, “Edana, do you have any experience fishing, or are you going to need pointers like wet boy here?”
09 March 2009 (8:17pm)
As she finished securing the line to the stick, Mariasha carefully tied the hook onto the end of the string. “That’s about all there is to preparing a rod, Elyan. If you find yourself a good stick, I’ll let you borrow a hook so you can try your hand as well.”
Eying her handiwork, her attention was diverted when Llewelyn suddenly spoke up, “That was a clever idea, Mariasha Gaidin. If we fish enough, maybe we’ll be able to feed the whole Yards with our catches tonight!” She laughed, “I sincerely doubt that we could feed all of the Yards, but at least we might manage to catch enough of something or another to snack on here in a bit.” Shooting a smile at the returning Elyan, she took the proffered stick and inspected it, “That should work just fine; help yourself to the hooks and line.”
And then Llewelyn threw her a curveball, “Mariasha Gaidin, if I may, I would like to know how you met your Aes Sedai. I mean, what kind of thoughts and relationship can make a Warder and an Aes Sedai bond together?”
Laughing and groaning at the same time, she laid down her line and turned to the young trainee before addressing him, “Oh Light, now that’s a tale. Suffices to say that beer makes the heart grow fonder, and in mine and Taeadra’s case, it provided an immediate connection.” She shook her head before continuing, “And what I mean by that is that we happened to meet at an inn while out drinking with friends, and it was just an immediate liking of each other. We both knew that it was right, drunk or not, and agreed to bond the very next day. Of course, the very next day we were both very hung over… care to guess what happened?” Her eyes sparkled with amusement before she continued, “Well, as you might have heard, women who bond each other tend to reflect each other a lot more strongly than a male/female bond. Take two hangovers and multiply them mentally… let’s just say some very unhappy Novice had some very nasty cleaning up to do later that day.”
Standing abruptly, Mariasha gestured towards the river, “Shall we try our luck, then?” She wanted to distract them before they asked any more questions – for all that herself and Taeadra were back on the right track again, there were still many things she wasn’t comfortable talking about with their relationship.
10 March 2009 (9:49pm)
Accepting a worm, Mari threaded it expertly into her hook. She had already taken off her shoes and rolled her pants up a bit, and her feet dangled in the chill water as she cast her line out a bit in front of her. The submerged grass on the downward sloping riverbank tickled at her feet, and she smiled – this was relaxation!
She turned her attention back to Llewelyn, who looked pensive, “Is something wrong, Llewelyn?” Mariasha had an idea what was worming into his mind, but then? Initiates had to lose their innocent ideas about bonding and servitude at some point, and she didn’t feel bad about bruising notions. After all, it might make him think about what he was getting into more than she herself had.
And if it saved her the pain that her Aes Sedai brought her, that Thera’s Aes Sedai brought her, then all the better. While none could deny her affection and concern for her Sister, it was definitely far from the ideal relationship a young girl fresh to Tar Valon had in her mind.