Ben rode slowly down the Jualdhe bridge, into the city of Tar Valon. He reached up and brushed an errant lock of blond hair back from his forehead, looking over the creaking haywain ahead of him at the buildings ahead. The city was unchanged from the last time he had seen it, the White Tower drawing the eye past the Ogier-worked buildings that would have been captivating any place else. It was comforting; whatever else changed, the Tower would still stand above it all. Whatever else changed… He grinned to himself. That was the nature of things, after all, but here he was again.
At the city gates, he exchanged a nod with the guards. To them, he would be just another man with a sword and a pack, after all, and the Light knew there were plenty of those on the roads these days. Nothing special marked out his blade, and if there were a fancloak folded into the bottom of his pack, in Tar Valon this wouldn’t mark him nearly as much as it might have in other places. He wasn’t ashamed, but it would be easier to answer the questions just once, if it could be helped. He doubted it would happen that way, but he’d always lived in hope, and he wasn’t going to change that now.
Ben grinned then, as he rode through the streets towards the White Tower. It was funny, the things you could miss about the Aes Sedai, if you’d been away long enough.
11 March 2009 (12:28am GMT)
Walking briskly away from the Tower, Lillith privately enjoyed the little bubble of space being an Aes Sedai granted her as she meandered down crowded streets. Tar Valon was a city packed with humanity, and while many Sisters preferred to make their way around town on horseback or being carted about in a chair, she couldn’t see a reason for it. Oh sure, it wasn’t a small city, and as she made her way further and further out from the Tower, she started to doubt the wisdom of her decision to walk, especially on such a fool’s errand.
To her, clothing wasn’t something to worry about overly. As long as it covered the skin, she was content enough. However, one of her fellow White Sisters had been harping on about some seamstress across town that did good work, and insisted that Lillith check it out. She reasoned to herself, ”It never hurts to investigate well-recommended work, even if that which I am content with is simple fare. And besides, it has been a few years since I had some dresses made.”
At least the day was nice, the right kind for much too long of walks. “It cannot be too much further,” she mused, pausing to pull the directions out of her belt pouch, “Thanelle said it was the third street past the Blue Cat Inn…”
Her muttering was suddenly cut off as she realized that a horse was bearing down on her. Yelping, she jumped back, falling on her bum into the street muck.
11 March 2009 (1:22am GMT)
Ben pulled his horse up short; the crowd had shifted him into the path of an Aes Sedai, and now… “Forgive me, m’lady Sedai,” he said, as he slid gracefully down and stepped over to extend a hand to the White. “If I might…”
After a moment, she reached up to take his hand. He grinned, and then pulled her carefully up to her feet. He looked at her, carefully ignoring the stains on her dress; hopefully it hadn’t been one she was too fond of. “Do pardon my riding. What can I do to make amends?”
11 March 2009 (1:47am GMT)
Letting the soiled bit of paper fall to the ground, she accepted the hand up from the handsome young man. “Do pardon my riding. What can I do to make amends?”
Lillith looked at the scrap of paper again and murmured, “I really shouldn’t litter.” She then took a look at herself and slapped a mucky hand to her forehead. “Gah!” she exclaimed, opening herself to Saidar. She hurriedly laid weaves to dry and remove the mud from about her person, and grimaced. Opening her belt pouch, she extracted a blessedly dry and clean handkerchief and ungracefully spat upon it before dabbing at her forehead.
“Well sir, I had intended to visit a seamstress this afternoon, but I’m thinking that perhaps I should return to the Tower and change before I do as such. Cleaned off or not, I still look a right mess after this little incident.” She laughed softly, “My fault for walking clear across town to a new destination – I think that next time I shall hire a chair or some such. But for now… you wouldn’t happen to be headed to the Tower by any chance, would you? After all, if you are, then I won’t have to worry about you accidentally riding me down again.” She realized that she probably sounded a bit blunt and rude, but then, attempting to crack jokes was sort of a new thing for her.
15 March 2009 (6:56pm GMT)
The White Sister gratefully accepted the hand up; she was not an equestrian by any stretch of the imagination. Oh, she had taken the occasional ride on a horse, even going so far as to take lessons at one point, but she couldn’t see the need to be an expert at it if she had no real need to leave Tar Valon. She even had, at one point as a new Sister, purchased herself a well-trained and gentle-natured filly, but the poor thing had spent most of its time cooped up in the stables during her life, and rarely going out.
”I really should make an effort to go riding sometime, I really should,” Lillith mused to herself for the hundredth time, ”I mean, I never know when I’ll have to leave the Tower, and it would be better than limping around to find someone to Heal me.” Of course, she’d probably forget for the hundredth and one time this solemn promise to herself, but perhaps one day it would stick in her mind.
“By the way, I don’t believe I introduced myself before; my name’s Ben Tomas.”
Shaking herself out of her reverie, she attempted to turn her head to address the handsome man leaning around her, “Nice to meet you, Ben, albeit it probably would have been nicer in other circumstances.” She laughed slightly before continuing, “And heading for the Tower, at that. I’m guessing that you’re not a new recruit, as you don’t seem quite young enough for that… family in the Tower, perhaps? A little sister amongst the Accepted, or amongst the newest Sisters?”
She didn’t realize she was babbling, but she didn’t really care that much either. There was something… comfortable about this person, something she hadn’t felt in anyone else. Lillith couldn’t pinpoint it exactly, but for the nonce, she was very content to have this strange and enjoyable moment in her life.
18 March 2009 (9:04pm GMT)
“A little sister amongst the Accepted, or amongst the newest Sisters?” she asked, looking over her shoulder to smile at him.
“A sister? You could say that…” Ben replied, slightly ruefully at being caught out so soon. But then, one could hardly expect to keep secrets from an Aes Sedai, even one as charmingly distracted as this one seemed. He smiled, and continued, “…but a bit more senior than you’re thinking. And I’m going to need to stop by the Warder’s yard, to send someone to find me a room again; I’m sure they’ve given mine away to someone else by now.”
24 March 2009 (12:04 am)
“A bit more senior…” Lillith trailed off, musing. “Of course,” she exclaimed, “You must be bonded to one of the Aes Sedai, then. I take it that you’ve been off in duty to your Sister, or have you both been off on an errand for some time? I myself have little reason to depart Tar Valon, so I guess it does interest me to some degree as to why anyone would be off for any amount of time.”