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Until Next Turn

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The young woman ran down the stone hallway, white robes and red hair flying behind her -- a novice on a mission. From the solemn tone with which the messenger's words were purveyed to her, she sensed the gravity of the information she held. The words themselves held no meaning for her, but she repeated them over and over in her head, determined to relay them perfectly. When she reached the towering mahogany door, she stopped short. Drawing herself to her full height, she knocked loudly.

The door opened of its own accord, a weave drawing it ajar. The novice entered the large foyer. Swaths of red and gold tapestry cascaded down from the ceiling. Activity in the room quieted. Women laid down their books and ceased their conversations. Innumerable eyes of crimson-clad sisters turned to the nervous novice. With a deep breath, she steadied her hands and stated: "I have a message for the red ajah."

One sister rose. She tossed her braided blonde hair over her shoulder and walked over to the novice.

"Can you be more specific?"

"Pardon, Liandrin sedai?"

A few scattered snickers echoed around the room.

The sister cocked her head and smiled unkindly.

"Shall I convene every red sister from across the land to hear your message or do you have someone specific in mind?"

The novice blushed. "The message is from Moiraine Sedai, Miss."

Liandrin raised her hand and gestured to the rest of the sisters. The conversations resumed and the room was again filled scraping chairs and chatter. The blonde's heart raced as she replied, "You can tell me."

"There is a man you must find. A boy, really. Mat Cauthon."

Liandrin took a deep breath. What game was this sister playing now?
But damn her if the red blood in her veins wasn't going to spur her to her duty. One more corrupted boy.

"Excuse me, sister," a low voice purred from behind her. Liandrin spun around. Standing across from her was a tall, piercing woman in a red cloak and matching hat. "I couldn't help but overhear."

The novice was doing her best to fade into the wall -- difficult when she was dressed like a white beacon. She was trying desperately to overhear. An aspiring red herself, she knew any piece of information from this part of the tower was worth real gold. Enraptured, she watched the two sedai tilt their heads together as they discussed. Finally, Liandrin took a step back, nodded, and walked away. Her counterpart smiled slyly and straightened her hat. As she strode out of the room. The novice waited a moment, then slipped out behind her.

She didn't make it very far. Once they were alone in the hallway, the aes sedai stopped.

"I seem to have acquired a tail," she said without turning around. The novice sighed and emerged from behind a large pillar.

Another smile on those crimson lips.

"Don't I know you?"

"Oh I-"

"I've seen you in the corners. In the shadows. Well, you've finally caught me."

The novice shrugged and looked down.

"Ivy, isn't it?"

"Yes, Carmen sedai."

Carmen reached out and tilted Ivy's chin up so their eyes met.

"You look like a girl with a question."

Ivy opened her mouth, thought again, and closed it. Too many questions, too little time. Finally, she landed on: "Where are you going, Carmen sedai?"

Her low laugh sent chills down Ivy's spine. "I'm going to steal one of the ta'veren."

The woman in red climbed gracefully to perch on the windowsill, teasing grin catching the moonlight. A gentle breeze swept her dark hair out behind her. Ivy watched, only half believing as Carmen swept her hands out beside her and fell backwards off the tower. With a gasp, the novice ran to the edge after her and looked outside in a panic.

Carmen, surrounded by her weave, was floating gracefully to the ground. As she fell away, curls of light flew from her hands and illuminated the walls of the white tower as if she was signing her work.

Mouth agape, Ivy watched the lights fade and wondered to herself where in the world she was going.

 

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Player: You can't change Mat's fate Carmen, nor can you change your own.

Carmen Sedai: Fate... I've been known to play those strings as well as any gleeman.

Player: And if you can't?

Carmen Sedai: The wheel weaves as the wheel wills, player. Until next turn.