I've been playing with this story for a while
now. If you read it you'll see it's written very differently from my usual
style, or Jordan's for that matter. It's more like some modern short stories.
It isn't finished yet - part 2 is posted but there'll be at least one more.
I suppose I started the whole thing. Not that I expected it. But then, maybe it would have happened anyway. After all it was the Feast of Lights and there was starlight and music and wine in plenty, and that kind of thing tends to lead to romanceÖ
So there I am in my new dress and slippers, and the handsomest young Warder-trainee winks at me from across the square, and I smile back and start to make my way through the crowd, when someone taps me on the shoulder.
I turn around. Oh hello Vanel.
Hello Kitiana Sedai. You look lovely tonight.
Why thank you.
Vanelís a distant cousin of mine. Considering heís nearly seventy he doesnít look half bad. Of course Iím nearly seventy too, but that hardly countsÖ Anyway, I want to get back to that Warder-trainee, so I look around for someone to introduce him to.
And then I spot Ali not far away, watching the dancers from the shadows. Itís about time she danced with someone herself.
Have you met my sister Aliane?
They nod to each other and I take the opportunity to slip away. Later in the night, though, I stop dancing to catch my breath and glance over to see if I can see either of them.
Theyíre still there. Still together, standing on the edge of the square and talking softly. And while it might just be the flickering light, it looks to me a lot like heís holding her hand.
Kitiana and I have been friends since we were novices but sometimes I canít imagine why. Sheís so eager to get back to the dancing that she didnít even introduce this man sheís left me with. I turn to him.
Kitiana didnít tell me your name?
Heís tall, with silvery-white hair. He chuckles.
Yes, sheís the perfect stereotype of a Green, isnít she? Nothing to care about but dancing and flirting. Iím Vanel Kiorda.
Iím Aliane Senican.
We talk for a long while. Iím surprised that heís related to Kitiana. Sheíd have been totally lost by our conversation Ė but we talk about philosophy and literary forms and perceptions of beauty well into the night. I donít remember enjoying myself so much in years.
And when he reaches for my hand, I donít move away.
Hello Ali, I say when I bump into her the next day. Did you enjoy the festival?
I did, she says with perfect composure, and you?
Immensely. But what did you think of Vanel?
He was very nice. She says that calmly enough, then adds very offhandedly, Weíre meeting after the debate this evening.
I perk up. Do I smell romance?
Donít be silly. We had an interesting conversation.
Which will get even more interesting this evening, hmm?
Do you Greens only have one thing on your minds? she demands. Vanel and I intend to talk. What on earth gives you the idea thereís any more to it than that?
Nothing whatsoever, Ali honey, except that youíre blushing.
Kitiana has a dirty mind. But as usual, sheís right.
Vanel and I walk down on the beach. He was married once before, he tells me, but it wasnít a success. They never had any children.
I donít know much about romance, I admit. He laughs.
Weíll work it out together.
The starlight dances on the waves. The stars seem so bright tonight.
I told you so.