Threads of Silver

Chapter 6: Landfall

The ship leaped forward, skimming over the waves. Above the ocean, flows of Wind and Water wove a web that only two on board could see.
Tanya, standing at the railing, stared up at the sky in wonder. Faia had been teaching her, but she could never have woven something like that, each thread of the Power as thin as gossamer, yet reaching for miles in every direction. Studying it now, she thought she could see how Faia had done it - flows here, and here, and crossing there above them -
“Dreaming again?”
Tanya turned to see her sister on the deck behind her. “You were channeling, weren’t you?” Leanna said. She came to stand at the railing beside Tanya, gazing up at the dawn sky. “I wish I could see it.”
There was no need to ask what ‘it’ she meant. Leanna had grown up with the fear most felt of the One Power, and she seemed torn between wishing she could channel and being glad she could not. Since leaving Seanchan, though, the wishing had grown much stronger. A thought struck Tanya suddenly. “How could you tell I was channeling, without the a’dam?”
“I don’t know. I thought I saw - something -” Leanna shook her head. “I imagined it, I suppose. It’s gone now.”
Tanya glanced up at the sky again. Faia had let the web dissipate, and by now there was nothing to be seen. Could Leanna have... No, of course not.
Leanna laughed. “I forgot why I came. Tanya, there’s land ahead. Saldaea, Seara and Faia say. We’ll be there in an hour.”
Tanya forgot all about channeling. “An hour!”
“You can see it in the distance.” Leanna pointed east.
They stood, watching the black speck of land come nearer and nearer. As the port became clear, Leanna turned away. “I guess this is it.”
“This is it.” Tanya sighed and turned from the railing. “We should get our things.” “Already on deck,” Leanna told her. “Come on. We’ll be docking in a moment.”
The two walked slowly across the deck to where the crew had gathered. Seara and Faia were with them, in green and blue silk. “We have to go now,” Tanya said. “I hope we meet again sometime.”
“The Light willing, we shall.” Faia kissed her fingers and touched them to Tanya’s lips, and Leanna’s. “I shall remember you, Leanna, and Tanya. The Light willing, I will see you both again.”
“The Light willing,” Leanna agreed as she and Tanya repeated the gesture. It was the way close friends greeted each other among the Sea Folk.
“May swift winds speed your journey,” Seara said. “If ever you are in need, come to us. You will always be welcome on my decks.”
Tears filled Tanya’s eyes as she watched the ship leave. Sadness, joy, she did not know. Alone in this new country - and, she suddenly realised, they had not even spoken about where to go.
“Tar Valon,” Leanna said.
Tanya blinked, startled. “What?”
Dark eyes met hers. “Tar Valon, Tanya. That is where we have to go. Unless you have a better idea?”
Tanya was confused. “Why Tar Valon?”
“Because,” Leanna said calmly, “Tar Valon is the only place you can learn more about channeling.” She made it sound obvious. “You cannot give it up, Tanya. If I could, I would learn too.”
“Tar Valon,” Tanya murmured. She did want to learn more. But Tar Valon? The White Tower? Aes Sedai? Those were names never to be spoken in Seanchan - but they were not in Seanchan any more. And if Aes Sedai could teach her... “All right.” She looked around the bustling port. There must be somewhere they could buy food and horses for a journey. “We go to Tar Valon.”

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