A Murandian Girl ---&RPaward

...for in character discussions, contributions and Wheel of Time themed stories.
Mindy
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2021 8:16 pm

A Murandian Girl ---&RPaward

Post by Mindy » Sat Nov 20, 2021 3:45 pm

Ely edit 27 Nov 2021:

1-6 qps, depending on length and quality.

Potential +1 qp: if part of a series: o

Total: 3 qps

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"Gather round children, and hear a tale. A tale of a little girl, must like yourself." The old man pointed at a young village girl with long, curly brown hair. Thew village Patriarch had lived here, in a small nameless farm town in Murandy, to the west of Lugard, all of his life. Watching people come and go became daily practice since his body had aged past the ability of manual labor and farm work. The children loved his stories, stories of trollocs and ghosts, heroes and villains. But this tale was different. This one he watched as it unfolded before his eyes, and as more children sat before him, the tale began.

Mindy was a girl like many others. Smart and funny, but obedient. Clean for a farm girl, she rarely found herself with the typical dirt smudged across her face, like the other farm children. That aside, no one ever had reason to think her different than the other children of the town. Time passed and she grew, as children do, into a lovely young woman. After her chores were finished, she would pass the time being chased by the obnoxious town boys, or talking with friends as they sat around the well at the center of town. But her passion was reading. Reading and learning as much as she could. She knew that she was smaller and not as adept physically as everyone else, so she knew she had to make up the difference somehow. "Knowledge is power," she had always been told, and she sought it everywhere she could, and at every opportunity.

Now, strange things happen sometimes, and Mindy's adolescence had its fair share of odd times. Twice in her fifteenth summer, trollocs had raided local areas. Three times in her sixteenth. Every time the villagers were able to prepare, rally, and repel the invading forces with no losses, save a handful of livestock. Her seventeenth summer would be far different, though, and the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills.

That summer became known as the Harvest of Blood. Eleven times the Shadow advanced through Murandy. Every one of the first ten attacks, the townsfolk held their ground. During the eleventh, however, they took heavy losses. At the end of the night, the village still stood. Though, from within the cries of loss and mourning came from too many homes. One home, at the outer edge of town, remained eerily silent. Not because no one mourned, but because every occupant had been slain. The family living there had been the town Patriarch, the Village Elder, and his family.

Two weeks it took to clear damaged buildings, slaughtered livestock, bury the dead, and assess the reality of the situation. The time had come, now, to figure out what to do with the belongings of the lost families. The Mayor had the idea that it would be proper to distribute the collections of the dead among the town's people, as it was what the Elder would have suggested and wanted for his own trove of items. The people agreed, and it was to be done. Everything was brought to the town square for all to see. For most of the morning, and early afternoon, people milled about checking out chests of drawers, hutches, and trunks full of items. Rummaging through one of the Elder's trunks Mindy found an item that she fell in love with. It was a simple object, a sculpted statuette of a woman holding a crystal sphere aloft in both hands. Its beauty, in her eye, was unmatched. Though she could not deny its simplicity, she also could not explain her attraction to it, and with the Mayor's approval, it became hers.

No sooner than her hand making contact with the item, Mindy was taken with a powerful and overwhelming effect, bringing her to a knee. exhilarated and yet confused and concerned, she took the statuette home, wobbling more than walking, as if in a drunken state, the whole way.

Several times in the following days, Mindy picked up the item to admire it, and every time the same she would experience the same feeling. No book she could find could describe what this happening was or why she would feel it. The exhilaration would lessen a bit every time, though and became less extreme, until this time. This time instead of the thrilling, heart racing feeling, she felt a warm, sweet, beautiful embrace. That is what frightened the girl. It scared her so much that as soon as she recognized the difference, she dropped the sculpture onto her bed and ran. Out of the house, she ran, and down the street. Straight to a wise old woman's house, an old woman she had had long, intellectual conversations with in the past.

Mindy almost beat down the door in her hysteria, until it opened slowly, and a large gray-topped head emerged from within. Seeing the panic in Mindy's eyes, the old woman wrapped her arms around the girl and ushered her in gently.

"Tell me, child, what has you strung so tightly," the old woman asked in the voice of an experienced crisis manager and mother. She expected to hear about boy problems, or town drama, but when Mindy, still shaking of the fear, explained the chain of events, she could only nod. Silent for a time, allowing everything to digest into her mind, the old woman filled a kettle, set it to the fire, and prepared two cups for tea. When the kettle began to whistle, and the tea was poured, the old woman set her face into the somber mask of a serious expression, all love and concern seemingly put aside.

"Child, you are not going to like what I am going to tell you, but listen close, and hear me." Mindy could only nod, the sincerity in the old woman's voice and the severity of the situation weighing heavy on her mind. "Based on your description of this thing, and what you've told me that you felt, I think you may have a gift that very few women do. Not I, or anyone within leagues of this place for that matter, can help you with this ability." The shock on Mindy's face became clear as day now. "If what I suspect is true, you will need to seek the Aes Sedai in Tar Valon. Please, girl, do not take my words lightly, young women have been reported to have perished wrestling with this ability without training, and it would bring me more sadness than you know to hear that of you, let alone watching it happen with no way to help."

Tears fell freely from Mindy's eyes now, as she fully realized the gravity of the situation. Seeking assistance from the Aes Sedai meant long, dangerous roads, being on horseback or foot for days on end, and at the end, if the books and stories had any truth to them, forsaking all family ties and worldly possessions, and possibly never ending servitude.

"Do not fear them, child," the old woman said grasping the girl's hand tightly, "For the safety of yourself, and maybe this village, you must be trained! Once you are, you alone could put down these damned trolloc raids!" At this, Mindy perked up a bit.

"Perhaps, if it is for the best," she said as stoically as she could. Rising from her chair, she wrapped the old woman in her arms. As they separated, Mindy pledged quietly, "I will leave at first light." Leaving her now cooled tea untouched, she made her way home to prepare for the journey ahead.

Days on the road came and went slowly, and uneventfully. Through Lugard and Four Kings, Mindy rode. Lonely and tired, she plodded her horse into Caemlyn. The beauty of the city almost overwhelmed her, but for the broken heart and home-sickness, it was also almost lost upon her completely. Not stopping for sight-seeing, Mindy turned her horse north, and began her trip up the Tar Valon road.

Northward she walked, hours passing slowly, turning into days. She stayed careful to not stray too far from the road, an inexperienced traveller camping alone was too easy a target for the bandits who were reported to roam the woods. Soon the shining walls of Tar Valon came looming into view. Mindy felt a sense of dread, mixed with anticipation. Anticipation for those walls meant her trek would soon be complete, and dread for what those walls truly contained: the unknown.

Into the western gate of the city she rode, completely unsure of whom to contact, or how. Could she just waltz right into the monstrous White Tower that dominated the horizon, and start yelling until an Aes Sedai came out? No, all her reading and learning instilled in her that propriety must be observed here more than anywhere. Slowly, keeping aware of her surroundings, she found her way into a bustling center square.

Feeling under dressed in her ragged, handed down cloak and farmers leathers, and uncomfortable in a city of this size and splendor, Mindy dismounted her tired mare and found a seat at the edge of the elaborate fountain. The soft trickle of water she found soothing, and relaxing among the din of the city. "Could this be one of the Aes Sedai's tricks," she asked herself quietly. After all, how could she relax with this activity all around her? She allowed time to pass, taking in all around her, as she wound down from such a long journey. The day was nice for this time of year, the sun warming her shoulders and back, and lulling her into a comfort that allowed her to start dozing off.

An unknown amount of time later, the sun waning in the sky, Mindy awoke with a start. A small crowd had gathered, but not for her, why would a sleeping girl in a center square gain the attention of passersby? There, not far off, at the center of the gathering, a woman, gaunt and drawn with clear eyes, and wearing a brown shawl and an exquisite great serpent ring with a brown, sparkling stone at its center. The woman's dark eyes seemed locked on Mindy, despite seeming to still interact with those around her.

Quickly, Mindy stood and nodded curtly at the woman, who seemed to know why the girl had come and beckoned the girl to follow. And that she did. Into the White Tower they strode, swiftly up a long flight of stairs, and then another, and finally into an office. Books, parchments, maps, and scrolls strewn everywhere, Mindy couldn't help but gawk, her love of reading distracting her from her goal. There were more texts in this one office than she had ever seen!

"Sections of our library are open to the public," The woman announced patiently, snapping Mindy from her reverie. "But that is not the reason for your visit. Why have you come to Tar Valon, child?"

"I am sorry for being distracted, I am Mindy..."

"And I am Erulisse, Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah, and you have not answered my question." Apologetic, Mindy began to tell of the events that lead her to this office, periodically interrupted by a question or two.

"Do you have the item with you?" Erulisse asked when Mindy had finished. Nodding slowly, Mindy started to dig through her backpack. Not having any travel experience had left her with a bag packed with little to no organization, and the untouched item seemed to have fallen to the bottom. After a minute, she found the tightly wrapped parcel and handed it to the Aes Sedai. Erulisse's eyes widened, almost unnoticeably as she revealed the statuette. "I see," she said, "I want you to hold this again so that I may see the reaction you've described. Please fo not fear, the White Tower is the safest place in the world for this type of observation."

As the girl accepted the sculpture back, the warm embrace took over her body again. As Erulisse reached to take the item back, she said "This item is called an Angreal, child. And it does seem that you have the spark. By taking hold of this item, you've ignited that spark. I'm glad you brought it here, where it belongs. Also, should you agree, we have the means to train you to use this spark, this ability as you call it, here in the White Tower."

The hesitation was plain on Mindy's face, but after an explanation of what the spark was, how it could be used, and after hearing the words of the wise old woman back home repeated in her mind, she agreed. At that, Erulisse was off, Mindy in tow for a tour of the White Tower, and an introduction to Sheriam Sedai, who warmly welcomed Mindy into the roster of the White Tower.