Threads of Silver

Chapter 5: Voyage

Seara paced the decks of the raker. Who were these people? Why had they captured her ship? And - the question burned in her mind - where had they taken her daughter? What had happened to Faia? She should never have let her come!
On the dock below, she knew, were six of the women who called themselves sul’dam and damane: the three damane, held captive on silver leashes, could channel. Was Faia leashed like that now? Would they make her wear gray and walk tamely behind her sul’dam?
There was a shout from below, and Seara leaned out over the railing, peering down at the dock. Fire flared, blinding her, but died down in an instant. Someone was using the One Power.
As Seara’s night vision returned, she saw the sul’dam-damane pairs frozen still, tightly bound with ropes she could not see. From the silence that now filled the night, they had been gagged as well.
Her crew had woken, and crowded around the railing. Only three figures now moved below, crossing the dock toward Seaskimmer. When they reached the ship, the middle one stood forward and threw back the hood of her cloak.
“Faia!” Seara called, leaning down. “Are you well?” Someone had shielded the three damane, and it had not been her daughter. “Who are these with you?”
“I am well,” Faia called up. “These are my friends, Mother. They freed me from the sul’dam. They must come with us.”
There was something there that wasn’t being said, but at the moment Seara couldn’t care less. Her daughter was safe. That was what mattered. “Lower a rope,” she ordered the crew.
When the three were on deck, and Seara had embraced her daughter, she turned to the other two. “I am Seara din Corran Black Sky, Sailmistress of Seaskimmer,” she said formally. “For bringing back my daughter, you have my thanks and welcome to his decks. Yet I am curious. Why do you wish to leave?”
The shorter of the two women pushed back her hood, and Seara blinked, startled by her beauty. She could not be more than seventeen. “We cannot stay here,” she said in that soft slurring accent. “I am Leanna, once sul’dam, and this is my sister Tanya, who was damane before I set her free. If we return now, my life is forfeit and Tanya will be sent back into captivity. We ask passage across the ocean, to wherever you are going, as long as it is far from here.”
So some people in this Light-forsaken place actually break rules, Seara thought sardonically. From the little she had seen of the Seanchan, not one of them had even thought of disobeying an order from a superior. It was nice to know some did.
“You are welcome,” she said aloud. “Even for asking you would be welcome -” Leanna blinked at that, but Tanya seemed to understand - “but for Faia’s freedom you are thrice welcome. We will take you to the mainland.”
Tanya smiled, relieved. She was older than her sister, but equally lovely. “I thank you, Sailmistress. If you can, we must leave quickly. I can hold these damane until we are out of the harbour, but if others come -”
“Faia,” Seara told her daughter, “weave winds to carry us.” As the glow of saidar appeared around the young Windfinder, Seara turned back to Tanya and Leanna and smiled.
“You may as well let them go now," she told them. "We will be gone in seconds.”

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