AN: sorry that there was such a huge gap between chapters, I've been meaning to put something up but I just keep putting it off for some reason. I've taken some small liberties with the power and power sickness because I could never find a clear description for what I wanted, but hopefully you'll forgive me. I also can't promise when the next chapter will come, I'm thinking of re-writing it and the two after, since they happen kinda fast and it seems fairly rushed. The end of this one seems a little rushed too. Anyway, enjoy.
Chapter 3: Wishes and Reality
She woke to the smell of eggs bacon and fresh toast not far away. Father must be cooking breakfast she thought squirming around in the silky soft sheets-
Her eyes popped open. This is NOT my room. She thought looking towards very larges windows that opened up with a view of a city, a very large city. Sitting up she looked around the room. By the Light, this room is nearly bigger then our house. She thought to herself as she examined her surroundings. The room was huge. There was a massive wardrobe on one wall, an equally large dresser near it. Very expensive looking rugs lay around the floor. The bed itself could have held half a dozen of her with room to spare. Lastly the shift she was wearing was very fine silk.
"Where am I?" she asked the air, she didn't remember much after they left Craysford. Was she in Caemlyn? A room this fine could only be in one place-
The door to her room opened and in walked a liveried servant in a white and black dress with a lily and three keys embroidered over the heart. She curtsied to Ali sitting in the bed "Good morning Miss Snown. I am here to assist you if you require anything or need any help with anything this morning. Your clothing is being washed and repaired, so Her Majesty has provided you with clothing"-she pointed towards the dresser and wardrobe-"when you have eaten, please call me and I will help you get ready. Her Majesty wishes to see you when you are ready." She bobbed a curtsey again and headed towards the door.
"Um, excuse me,"-the girl stopped and turned to face her-"um, if it okay with you, what is your name?"
"I'm Alinda, please call me Ali."
"Yes, Ali." Clarice bobbed a curtsey again and left the room leaving Alinda to see if this breakfast was as good as it smelled. Lifting the white frilly dome covering the tray beside her bed revealed tea, toast, and a small stick of butter along with a plate full of bacon eggs sausage tomato and mushrooms, the smell was making her mouth water.
Pouring herself a cup of tea she added a small amount of honey just to add the sweetness that she liked. Taking a sip from the cup she had to suppress a rising feeling of excitement, if the tea tasted this good the meal would be to die for. Setting the cup down she picked up a piece of toast and a knife and buttered the slice before setting off to eat as much as she could.
After she had finished eating she padded to the window to look out over the city. She really was in the Royal Palace in Caemlyn she thought to herself as she looked over the rooftops with awe. This was almost too much for her to take in. If she was here where was her father? Was he in his own rooms somewhere? If this was the Royal Palace, and it certainly looked like it, it meant the Queen was here, the Queen Elayne Trakand from her book.
Her Majesty Clarice had said wanted to see her when she was ready. A sudden shot of panic tore through her body. The Queen of Andor wanted to see her when she was ready. Hearing the door click open again, Alinda spun around to see Clarice politely curtsying. "Miss Ali, if you please, I am to help you dress if you are feeling up to it. Her Majesty would like to see you now." With that Clarice went to the wardrobe and opened the door to reveal the finest dresses that Alinda had ever seen.
In short order Clarice had her dressed in a dark blue dress with silver trimmings made of the finest materials she had ever seen. Her feet were adorned with green and silver slippers that were so soft compared to her sturdy shoes she normally wore. Clarice had combed her straight hair out arranging it so that it hung straight down her back. Lastly she had applied a faint scent which reminded Ali of lavender. When she was all done she looked at herself in the full length mirror stand next to the wardrobe. I look like a Princess, a nervous one. She confided to herself.
Clarice it turned out had a sense of humour similar to that of her own, so by the time she was ready, and following her out the door to the rooms she occupied she was feeling a little better about herself. Clarice hadn't made an issue about her hair, skin or eye colouring except to say that she had beautifully straight hair.
Alinda was looking at everything while she followed Clarice through the halls of the royal palace. The walls were lined with fancy tapestries depicting everything from battle scenes, hunts and animals on the prowl all the way to sweeping vistas of mountains and plains. There were numerous pedestals featuring vases made of the finest Sea Folk porcelain and other expensive items that could buy a months supply of food back home. The other servants in the halls all bowed or curtsied to her as they passed them. They probably thought she was the daughter of some lord or lady, but the attention was beginning to make her a little nervous again.
Soon enough after numerous twists and turns that she was sure they were back near where they had started Alinda and Clarice were standing outside double doors each carved with a lion. Asking her to wait by the door, Clarice entered the room drawing the door closed behind her. Alinda was hoping from foot to foot trying to quell the butterflies in her stomach when Clarice came back out the door.
"Her Majesty will see you now Miss Snown." She said, giving her a curtsy deeper then any of the others she had before. Holding the door open for her Alinda stepped through into a room about as large as the one she had slept in. However this room had large deep and comfy looking chairs in an open ended arc around another chair which sat on a small dais. Around the room sitting in the chairs were various people in rich clothing she did not know. But the one who drew her immediate attention was the one sitting in the chair of the arc.
With long red-golden curled hair capped with a silvery gold diadem above a perfect oval shaped face and brilliant blue eyes Elayne Trakand was a vision of Queenly perfection in Alinda's view. She couldn't help but stare at her. When she realised that the Queen had addressed her she gave a start and her pale face had turned as red as her eyes in embarrassment. Dropping into a deep curtsy and nearly falling over on her side the white haired girl replied. "Yes, your Majesty, I'm feeling much better now thank you. Thank you for the clothing and the breakfast." She couldn't see what had stopped her falling over, but it gave her goose bumps, it had to be the Power. Had the Queen stopped her from falling over?
Elayne smiled at the little ruby eyed girl standing in front of her. She had never seen anyone with such colouring before. She had heard of it in books and from yellow sisters but this was the first time she had seen an albino person with her own eyes. The fact was such colouring was rare, and even rarer was the colouring of her eyes. She had only seen it mentioned in one of the books about the different races of the world. But here she was standing there.
The girl, according to her father, had channeled then two days later was struck down by what was called 'channeling sickness.' But she could not sense Saidar about her at all. Which had surprised her at first, because the sickness had all the hallmarks of being channeling related. Coupled with her father's story, it seemed odd to say the least. Elayne eyes flicked towards one of the ladies sitting on the chairs in the arc and wondered what she saw about this girl. "Miss Snown, if you would be so kind as to take a seat, would you tell us why you are here, starting at the beginning."
Lookin around to the seat Elayne gestured towards Alinda suppressed a relieved sigh when she spotted her father sitting next to the chair. Sitting next to him, he put his hand over hers and gave it a reassuring squeeze. Alinda wasn't sure if he was meant to be reassuring her or her him going from the wide eyed shocked look in his face. He is probably shocked at the clothing I'm wearing. She giggled inwardly at the thought.
With that she turned to look back at the Queen and told them what she could remember. "Well, it was my birthday and I had just finished reading my book"-she trailed off looking at the Queen working her mouth for a moment before continuing-"and went to the kitchen with father, he had a cake for me and on the cake was a candle. He said it was a southerner tradition to make a wish and blow out the candle. So I was looking at the flame and thinking about the colours. When I thought that I wanted to make the flame bigger, so I could see the colour easier. It, seemed so easy, I could feel this heat and cold and everything seemed so clear. Then the little flame just got a lot bigger, and I fell." As she continued on with the story, telling how her father had explained things in the trip, then how she started feeling unwell after they had left Craysford, she finished with waking this morning. She didn't remember anything after arriving at Caemlyn.
The Queen was watching her with a calm clear face that looked no more then a few years older then hers. She has to be about forty years old but she looks like she is not much older then twenty. Admonishing herself for such disrespectful thoughts she waited for the Queen to respond to her story. The Queen was looking at a middle aged woman with short brown curly hair, dark eyes and a pretty face.
"Well Min, what do you see? Can she channel?" Alinda jerked in shock and looked at the lady Elayne had addressed. Min, Min Farshaw another one of the heroes from her book the one who could see peoples futures in the pattern. Alinda stared in wonder maybe her father hadn't been so wrong about the wish after all.
"Damn it Elayne, don't ask me that. I can't sense the Power you know it. Heck I can't make anything out about this girl. She has the same aura as someone who can channel though if that's what you mean. But I can't make anything out about her future. No wait,"-Min blinked, then squinted at her-"a black coat. I don't know what it means though." This announcement caused a few mutters around the room but was quickly silenced when Elayne looked back to her.
"It seems that you may actually be able to channel Miss Snown, but I cannot sense anything about you indicating an innate gift, however"-suddenly a small flame leaped into existence between her and the Queen-"lets see if I can change that." Looking from the Queen to the flame she nodded and rubbed her arms from the sudden goose bumps that appeared.
For the next twenty minutes Alinda concentrated on the flame in front of her. But she couldn't get it to focus the way she did the night of her birthday. It was as if the flame felt wrong to her. It was as though it was made of something different compared to the flame in her memory. It was very frustrating, there was this very faint feeling coming from behind her it felt cool and warm at the same time but just out of reach. It was something very different to this little flame in front of her.
Elayne released the source and sat back in the chair, watching the girl as she stopped rubbing her arms. She had felt nothing from her, not a single trace of Saidar. But there was something about this whole scene that just didn't seem to fit to her. It was nagging at her mind. If the girls story was to be believed she had clearly channeled, and in a fairly abrupt way. She had also suffered from the sickness. Lastly it seemed as though she had an unconscious sense of the power from the way she was rubbing her arms each time she embraced the source. Maybe she burnt herself out that brief moment she touched the power. Which while saddening wasn't as bad as it used to be ever since Damer and Nynaeve had found a way to cure being cut off from the source. But there was the sickness, that shouldn't appear in those who are cut off.
"Tell me have you ever felt anything or seen things that should not be there?" She asked the girl sitting across from her.
"I'm not sure Majesty. I guess, just now during the test. I thought I could feel something like it was cool and warm at the same time."-Not noticing the stares she was getting from the other male occupant in the room she continued-"When you were channeling before, it gave me goose bumps, like just now talking about it gave me goose bumps." When she finished she noticed the Queen was wearing a blank expression, as if something had just occurred to her and she didn't know how to react to it. The room was silent for a few moments then...
"That's can't be possible." Said the other man in the room, causing Alinda to jump she had forgotten the man was there since he was so quiet just watching the scene. Alinda's eyes felt like they were going to fall out of her head when she realised who it was. She wasn't sure if she could take many more shocks today. "You just described what sounds like a male channeler. Both Saidin and how we can sense female channelers." Rand finished with a frown, it had to be him.
Alinda swallowed "It's the truth" she mumbled.
Suddenly there was another small flame in the air "One way to prove it." Was all he said. Alinda looked at the flame, instantly she could tell the difference. She gasped, that wasn't the only thing, she could sense Rand, for a brief moment in her mind it seemed as though he contained the sun itself, and then it was gone. He was looking at her with eyes that mirrored her own shocked self.
On the other side of the room Min was laughing "I guess she just did sheepherder."