Amahra Sherran strode as quickly as she could dare through the halls of the White Tower without giving the appearance that she was in a hurry. She had been an Accepted for almost three years now, and didnâ€™t want to appear as undignified as the novices did when summoned by an Aes Sedai. The halls above the library were the domain of the Brown, and not likely to have visitors, but Amahra didnâ€™t want to risk being observed running. She had hopes of being called to take the final test of becoming an Aes Sedai soon, and knew that failing to be serene in action and thought was a good way to delay the test several years.
Amahra had spent almost ten years of her life within the tower, only having left the tower once during that entire time, and then only into Tar Valon itself. She itched to travel and see the world, but knew that there would be plenty of time for that when she was raised to a full sister. For now, she had an appointment to keep with Mallah Sedai of the Brown Ajah. Amahra had chosen two years ago to devote her studies to learning about the terâ€™angreal of the tower, and Mallah was one of the few acknowledged authorities on terâ€™angreal alive within the White Tower. Mallah was known to be rather eccentric, even for a Brown, disappearing for months at a time while chasing after a rumor of one terâ€™angreal or another hidden in some remote location. Mallah had even been successful on occasion, bringing back some rare treasure to be cataloged and analyzed before Mallah moved on, devoting herself to another rumor that had caught her attention.
Short for a Shienaran, Amahra had to speed up to a near run to make it to Mallahâ€™s office above the library on time for her daily tutorial. Mallah was known to have odd ideas about the way things worked in the world, but she was as much of a stickler for protocol as any other Aes Sedai. Amahra quickly smoothed her rainbow-banded white skirts and brushed her long black hair out of her light brown eyes before knocking on the door.
â€œEnter, enterâ€¦â€ came Mallahâ€™s voice through the door, in an almost distracted manner. Amahra opened the door and stepped in, closing the door behind her. Originally a Taraboner, Mallah was busy packing a large number of scrolls and papers, apparently preparing for yet another journey. A pack full of books was already packed and lying beside a desk littered with tomes and scrolls of all shapes and sizes. Mallahâ€™s bulky white-haired Andoran Warder, Quahlen, was assisting her, fighting a loosing battle in an attempt to keep order to the piles of books and papers that were strewn around the office in a haphazard manner. Amahra fought to keep her face disciplined and not show the amusement that she felt at seeing a Warder fighting with books and losing. â€œAh, Amahra, good, it is certainly time you arrived. This is a golden opportunity, and you are lucky indeed to be able to capitalize on such a rare event. I need for you to head back to your quarters and begin packing. Be sure to prepare for a long journey. Bring several dresses, but do not bring your accepted dresses. Where we will be going, those dresses could very well draw unwanted attention that we would best avoid on our journey.â€
â€œYes, Mallah Sedaiâ€ stammered Amahra while curtseying, her mind whirling with the implications of Mallahâ€™s statement. Her eyes roved around the office, looking for a clue as to what reason Mallah could have for taking her anywhere outside the tower. Her gaze fell upon an ancient scroll on the desk, just as Mallah began rolling it up and placing it carefully within a protective tube. Amahra had just enough time to see that the scroll contained a drawing of a black sword and strange but somehow very familiar writing before Mallah had rolled up and secured the yellowed scroll among her packed possessions. â€œMay I ask where we are traveling to, and why? It would help me to decide what to bring, and what books to pack.â€
Mallah looked up from her desk, pursing her lips. â€œYou will not need books; I will be bringing enough reference material for both of us. As far as what to bring, be sure to only bring what you need. Donâ€™t load yourself down with unnecessary items; you will be busy enough without bringing pretties along. We will be traveling to the Panarchâ€™s palace in Tanchico. There are several items believed to be Terâ€™Angreal there, the need has arisen to risk study of these items. I have received permission from both the Amyrlin Seat herself and the Mistress of Novices to bring you along as an assistant, a rare treat indeed for an Accepted. Your Shienaran upbringing may very well prove to be an asset in my studies.â€
Amahra thrilled at the thought of travel and at the possibility of studying previously unknown terâ€™angreal. Her heart soared at the thought of making the trip to Tarabon, seeing new lands she never dreamt of seeing for decades yet to come. Another question ran through her mind, and she gave voice to that question. â€œForgive me Mallah Sedai, but what does my Shienaran upbringing have to do with the study of terâ€™angreal?â€
â€œHopefully none, child,â€ said Mallah, as she pulled even more books off of a nearby shelf, â€œbut I always believed in covering as many possibilities as I can. Your interests and knowledge led me to ask the Amyrlin seat for your assistance, donâ€™t make me regret that request. Now, go and pack, and be ready tomorrow at sunrise. We will be taking a boat to Aringill before heading across to Caemlyn and eventually Tanchico itself. Donâ€™t leave anything important behind; we will not turn around because you forgot something.â€
Amahra curtseyed and left, her thoughts racing as she walked back down the deserted corridor. Excitement and anticipation colored her thoughts. A trip to study Terâ€™Angreal was unheard of for an Accepted. NOBODY had ever done that before in the entire history of the White Tower. Realization struck, and Amahra stopped short, clutching herself with sudden fear in her stomach.
Mallahâ€™s voice echoed unbidden inside her head. â€œYour Shienaran upbringing may very well prove to be an assetâ€¦â€
Amahra was one of the very few people anywhere that had ever seen more than a few examples of Shadowspawn script, and had ever bothered to study it. Her father was a firm believer in the saying â€œKnow your enemy...â€ and had insisted she learn the vile language while she was still a girl. He had gone out of his way to collect examples of the vile writing, and had become a respected scholar in Shienar for his work. She had studied by his side, and together, they had once pieced together the meaning of a Shadowspawn scroll detailing Trolloc movements. That action had saved the lives of an entire village.
Amahraâ€™s mind began working feverishly; Shienar...the Borderlands... the Blight, Trollocs, Myrrdraal... That scroll, with its familiar writing... and Terâ€™Angreal... Oh, LIGHT!
Amahra began to run, unmindful of who saw.