|Occupation||Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah|
|Affiliation||The Grey Tower|
|Affinities||Spirit, Water, Air, Earth, Fire|
Aiko has dark shoulder length hair. She has hazel eyes that switch from green to amber depending on the light. She is short with a boyish figure. She has a square handsome face. She grew up with two brothers, so she is a bit of a tomboy.
Her and her younger brother share the same eyes and smiles. She tends to be mothering when she is around people. She lost her mother before she could crawl, so she over compensates. Her family means the world to her. She would crawl through flame for them.
Her grin is her trade mark. It is slightly crooked and denotes a touch of mischievousness. She finds odd things funny, but for the most part she is a serious person. She has a soft spot for wounded or hurt.
Aiko is a different person from the one that was taken from the tower a year and a half ago. She has the the same boyish figure, and the same golden green eyes. She is deffinately more focased. She has seen people killed and it was done with evil. She used to have a crooked smile, but she rarely shows it anymore. She is more serious now that she has gone through the things.
She is more focus on what she wants to accomplish as an Aes Sedai. She has done what she set out to do her brother is free, and going to be apart of the Grey Tower. Now she wants to focus on becoming an Aes Sedai.
Aiko cracked an eye open. She knew the sun had a few hours before it peaked over the horizon. She woke this early everyday for as long as she could remember. She stretched and broke into a yawn, that turned into a smile. She could not wait for today to begin. Today was the day she could make rounds with the Mender of the outpost. She had been under her tutelage for about four years now. Learning how to treat illness and injury. She had assisted over the years, but today she would be able to use what she had learned. Hadna was tough, but she had confidence that Isadora could do this. Hadna would be critical.
Hadna was an odd woman. Well, that was putting it mildly. She had quirks. She was a woman that Aiko looked up to as a mother figure; her own mother killed in a Trolloc raid when she was still crawling. Her father said Hadna had stepped in and took over from the start, saying that he really had no choice in the matter. Nobody really argued with her. She was like a boulder rolling down hill. Once she started, it was either get out of the way or get smashed. The thing about her that stood out the most, was aside from her quirks, she was the best healer this far north, and she was respected for it.
Aiko stretched one more time, just to be sure. She dressed warm, the rain had been going on for days. Looking at herself, she wondered if she really looked like her mother as much as Hadna said. She was staring into hazel eyes that were glinting green in the dim light. They turned amber in the sunlight. She had a square strong face. She didn't think she was as pretty as the other girls, but she was at least handsome. Her shoulder length black hair was always brushed till it shined. Her only fault, that she could see was her boyish figure. The other young women in the outpost already were developing hips and curves. She really did not mind. Who needed boys pestering them anyway? Not her, boys were messes waiting to be cleaned up.
She had two that were going to be up soon. They were two to many. Her brothers were both part of the outpost cavalry. One, her older brother, Elias was a senior officer. The other her younger, Isaac a lower ranking cavalry soldier. They were always a thorn in her side, but they meant more to her than her life. They were as opposite as could be, like water and air. Elias was the ultimate rule abiding go getter. While Isaac was full of life, and the prankster. Both were loved for different reasons. Both of them would be getting up soon, and she had to have their breakfast for them.
She went from her room to get the stove fires started. Their house was small, but comfortable. There was a loft that her brothers shared. Her father and her had small rooms on the ground level. Everything was humble and homey. Once the stove was lit, She started a fire in the hearth, and lit a few candles. Then she set to making breakfast.
She fried salted pork, and fried eggs. She boiled some oats, and made some strong tea. She packed last nights stew for their lunches with some bread. She set the table and a moment later a boisterous Isaac slid down the ladder from the loft. In his bed clothes no less.
She frowned at him. "Haven't they taught you any manners yet? You run around undressed, and slid down like an animal?" She planted both of her hands on her hips. He smiled his smile and he melted her. That crooked mischievous smile was something they shared. "Don't think you can charm your way out of this," she smiled. He did that to her. He had no serious bone in his body, But were he lacked all the fancy stuff, he was what he was. He was just Isaac.
"Oh come on now," he said, that wicked little grin beaming. "I think I am being well behaved; half dressed and needing a clean up, but how could you deny me, as famished as I am?" She shook her head half heartedly, as she served him his breakfast.
"You know you are never going to be able to catch a girl, if you continue to behave as you do. Women do not like when men roll out of bed like beasts growling for their breakfast. Besides it is about time you started being more serious."
"I am being serious," he said, "I have thought a lot about being serious. Well, I just can't figure out when and were to be serious. I am just not as versed on it as you." his crooked little smile turned into a bigger grin.
"Eat your food before it gets cold. I packed both of your lunches, and Da's too. I have to be with Hadna today. That means you guys can fend for yourselves at dinner time." Isaac groaned. The last dinner the men had put together was boiled turnips. She smiled behind her hand. She had already prepared something for the men, but no need to let on that she did. She finished plating the rest of the food.
Elias descended to the ground floor. He was as he always was. He was dressed in his uniform. Every shiny brown hair on his head in its proper place. Every button and pin exactly were it was supposed to be. He was not putting on airs. He was like that even as a child. When her and the other kids were out getting dirty he was cleaning his room. Now that he was an adult, the behavior was different, but the behaviors were still there. He was the perfectionist. If something was not done right then why bother doing it? That was how he was.
He crossed the room to the table. Aiko noted a slight pause, and a sweep of narrowed eyes, spared for Isaac's attire. Maybe it was the fact that Isaac was leaning back in his chair picking at a foot that he had propped on the table next to his plate. She did not feel like mediating one of their disagreements this morning. She was in to good of a mood to let one of their screaming matches to ruffle her.
She sw atted Isaac's foot off the table, and gave him a look that said she meant better behavior. She poured some tea for everyone and took her seat. She watched Elias take his seat and waited for the inevitable. She was ready to cut him off at the pass. He turned to Isaac, and as his mouth opened for one of his condescending lectures, she piped in.
"Da should be up by now. "She scooted her chair back, and made ready to stand.
Elias shook his head. "He was out with Mortonu, and the other blacksmiths. He never came home. He is probably nursing a sore head about now." She frowned slightly. That was the third time this week. He had been brooding for months. He never spoke about anything that might be bothering him, and if they asked he quickly move on to a different subject. Everyone finished eating, without another word. There was no need to discuss something that had already been over talked out.
Elias went on his way. He was always prompt and on time for his duties. She threatened Isaac with a bucket of soapy water if he did not go clean himself up. She straightened up the dishes, and put away the food. She made it a point to yell up to the loft every few minutes for Issac to hurry up. If she did not wait till he left the house, he could easily be found later napping later. That could mean he could be digging ditches for another month. The last time had been in the middle of a scorching summer. His clothes were a sight, and had the odor akin to livestock. She wrinkled her nose at the memory.
He finally came down dressed in his plain unadorned uniform. He was still tugging on a boot. She grabbed his lunch. His smile, crooked and adorable at the same time, beamed from his face. "I will be late. If I am not here in the morning, I am at Hadna's. There is stew in there." She kissed him on the cheek. "Go on before your late again." He snorted. She watched him, as far as the turn in the road, before shutting the door.
She had to get a move on as well. Hadna could punish with the best of them. She grabbed two books on herbs, and all of her notes. She stuffed everything into a leather shoulder bag. She tossed it on, and took one last look in the mirror. Her eyes were shifting from green to amber, and back, now that the sun was peaking through the window. She smiled her own crooked smile. Today was her day to practice what she had been learning the last four years. She knew she would do well, but would Hadna be happy with her? That was the real question. She shrugged on her cloak, and made her way out into the rain. She looked to the sky. The sun was beginning to shine through, hopefully the rain would give them a break today.
The streets were always busy this early in the morning. Soldiers that lived in the barracks needed to be fed. There officers that had messages that needed to be sent. There craftsmen that scurried here and there to get their mornings started. There was also the in flow, and out flow of people coming and going from the outpost. There were dignitaries, and there servants out and about, making notes or just observing. There were also regular residents, like herself, that out were running their errands. There was of course an over abundance of soldiers hurrying to their daily duties, or for their fighting lessons, or what ever they did. Isaac and Elias never really spoke of anything, but things they found amusing. To her it was all sorts of mumble jumble, and all sorts of nonsense.
The Outpost was not built for aesthetic beauty. It was a defensive structure. The solid stone walls built in a ring. The center of the ring, rested a four story stronghold. That was the place that welcomed dignitaries, and was the residence of the Lord General. Every ring expanded a little farther out. The barracks were on the outer ring, along with the stables, and the Blacksmith yards where her father worked everyday. The craftsmen and women lived in the inner ring. The upper officers next. Then there were a series of rings that were for outpost supplies. This is were she grew up. Her home.
As a little girl, she had seen men wounded, or dying. She was used to the fact that people were killed. She didn't like it, but it was a fact of life. A fact that was clearer, the closer you lived to the blight. Shienar had outposts out across the border. Outposts that could either give warning of a breach, or stop an appending breach in the border. It was there to break raids and protect the south from the shadow. All very prideful things. She was proud to be a Borderlander.
There were two main roads, called main ways, they ran east to west, and north to south. They were large enough to fit two carts, or two wagons going either way. You could walk from one side of the outpost to the other in just a few moments. There were also side pathways that people could access with in the ring.
She was headed east. Hadna chose to live in the outer ring. She had a cottage that was close to the soldiers. She spent a lot of time around them. She considered every soldier one of her boys, and her responsibility. It didn't matter if it was just a case of feeling sorry for themselves; she was there, and giving her advice and comfort. She was the woman that everyone turned to when there was anything from a hard birth, to something as simple as the sniffles. She even played match maker for shy women and stubborn men. She was remarkable. There were times that Hadna seemed to know things before they happened.
She walked into Hadna's yard. She was already on her porch. She was in her normal garb. She was in a yellow dress that was had embroidered white flowers across the bodice. "I was wondering if you slept in girl. We have a lot of places to be."
"I know, I had to feed my brothers, and see Isaac on his way. You know how he is." Aiko smoothed out her grey skirts. She did not want to disappoint the woman. "I am sorry, but I am here now."
"No worries, girl, we have a little time. Take your bag into the house. You are working today with only my guidance." Aiko frowned on the inside. She would not have the benefit of her notes, and her books. She did as she was told. "Come, first we have a few rounds in the barracks. Then to more advanced training."
The rain finally stopped. They made their way to the barracks. Hadna told her what to expect, but she was still nervous. She went over everything she had been taught. She knew cures for things that were as simple as boot rot, and things that could stir the heart if it stopped beating, practice was not experience; she hoped she did well.
The barracks had an Infirmary. Their were young men, boys, and even older soldiers. There was everything from strained muscles, to broken bones. She looked at Hadna, doubtful as she was, she tried to keep her face smooth. Hadna hesitated. "Now, I want you to find someone that needs you. Look around the room girl. They have been tended to already. I want you to feel who needs help. It is important for a mender to be able to sum up the people that need her the most." She gave Aiko a critical eye.
Aiko looked around the room. This was the first time that Hadna had ever let her decide. She looked at the rows of beds. Something pulled her toward one individual. He was a handsome man. He was most likely her senior, by nine years at least. She walked to him hesitantly. He was ash colored. That meant shock, if he was cold. She touched his forehead. He was as cold as ice. She opened his mouth. His tongue was swollen and white. She opened his eyes, and they were dilated. He was in shock.
She reached into Hadna's bag. White leaf root should bring him out of the shock. She mixed it, and force fed the soldier. Hadna was behind her nodding. Aiko pressed her hands to the mans head. He was still cold. She needed to warm him up.
"Hadna I need blankets. He is in shock. I think he may have a broken neck. I need ...I need more blankets." Hadna did not move. Aiko felt the pain. The man's neck was snapped. No she thought ! He will be well! Aiko dug through the bag that Hadna brought, but something told her to grab the man's neck. She placed her hands around his neck.
Something poured through her, a flow of something she could not describe. It made everything clear and bright. She felt the bones that were broken. She almost felt some kind of emotion that seemed like fear. She felt something build, then it released. She couldn't describe it, but she felt his bones go back into place. The man jerked awake. "Calm down," she whispered. It is alright. No worries. You do not need to be to be scared any more. ." He relaxed. He even smiled. You are going to be fine." She stood, Hadna had a look on her face that was unreadable.
"We have a birth to tend to, she has has had problems in the past, hopefully everything is well. What did you learn her Aiko?" Aiko thought for a moment, and then answered.
"I felt him out of a crowd of people. He was in need of help. Thankfully, I gave him the right remedy." Aiko ignored the fact that she felt like there was more to it than that. She felt that mans pain. It was fixed. She also felt some sort of bond with him. Like they were connected. "Hadna can we leave? You said there was a difficult birth." Hadna nodded. Aiko followed. "Hadna, I might need your help. I have seen you do this, but I am scared. I don't know about this. Maybe I should train more." She stopped dead.
"You are coming with me Aiko. Right now. You are going to do what I trained you to do. That is that." She grabbed her arm and dragged her on to the next stop. The whole way she thought what if she couldn't do it again.
Why did she feel so insecure? She fixed one problem. She could do it again. She let herself be calm. It was a birth. She had witnessed many before, even the hard ones. She tried to get rid of the feeling of that officer's fear, but it clung to her tighter than her dress.
"This is Lady Oromhi's house. I am going to let you diagnose her. If there are any problems I'll step in. Aiko was scared, but in her heart she knew she could do this.
They knocked. There was no answer at first. A maid came to the door. She was in a fit. "Oh Hadna, thank the light. The mistress is in a bad way. Come I'll take you. They went up the stairs, following the maid. When they went in the room there was a small woman baring down hard.
"I need help'" she screamed. Aiko snatched the bag from Handa. She placed her hands on Oromhi's belly. She knew that some thing was wrong.
"The feet are the wrong way." Burn Hadna, she meant for Aiko to do this alone. "I will make this as comfortable as possible. Put this in your mouth," she handed her an herb called rock moss. "This will make you feel no pain. I have to turn the child. Please no matter what you do don't push till the rock moss takes effect."
She reached in and had difficultly at first, but there was that feeling again. The same feeling that she had when she helped the soldier. That life that surged through her. She could feel two heart beats. The child turned. Then Oromhi screamed. One push and the child was in Aiko's arms. She turned to Hadna, her face was serious.
"Did I do something wrong?" She stood there shifting her feet.
"No. You did exactly what I thought you would do. Now finish up. We have more places to be today." They spent the day going from one end of the outpost to the other. There were mostly minor illness' after that. Mistress Amuki had a head cold. One of the Lord general's children had a cough. There was a soldier that had a sprained ankle. The list went on and on. Two hours past low, they were back at Hadna's cottage.
She was exhausted. Hadna stood in her door way silent. "Did I do alright Hadna?" The older woman had a strange look on her face. It was like she wanted to say something, but she did not know where to begin Oh light, Aiko thought, she had done something wrong. What though. She had followed all of Hadna's teachings.
"I want you to come in. There are some things you should know." Hadna's face grew more and more concerned. What was it she needed to say? Hadna was as serious as Aiko had ever seen. "Sit Aiko. I'll make some tea." Aiko did as she was told. She decided it would better to keep silent. Hadna made her tea. When she was finished, she sat and said nothing at first.
She couldn't handle the silence any longer. "What's wrong Hadna? Your spooking me. What do you need to tell me?" There were so many emotions on Hadna's face. One emotion that stood out the most was regret, and a lot of sadness. "What is going on," she demanded.
"Seventeen years ago an Aes Sedai came to me. She was pregnant. She told me that she had been in hiding for almost nine months. The newer Aes Sedai's are now having children. That wasn't so for this Aes Sedai. She stayed with me for a few weeks until she gave birth. She had twins, one boy and one girl. She made me swear to look after them. Aiko, you and Isaac are those twins.
The Aes Sedai left me enough money to care for you and your brother. She made me promise that I would make it so she could not be traced to you. She was very strict about that. She told me to hide you two in plain sight. She also made me promise that if one or both of you started showing signs of being able to channel, that I was to tell her secret, and get you to the Grey Tower.'
"You are being absurd Hadna. Isaac my twin? You are trying to tell me that my entire life is a lie. First off, all of that is cruel. Second, if this is a test or a game, it is not funny. You should be ashamed Hadna. In fact, I will not listen to another word of this nonsense." Aiko stood, and went for the door.
"This is no game Aiko. You channeled today. I could go into detail on how I know, but there is no point to that. You channeled. I am doing what I promised so many years ago. You need to know this. Your mother had the rare talent of foretelling. She said, that the day I saw one of you channel something would happen that would threaten both of you. Hadna snatched her arm, and spun her around. "You will listen to me. The reason I know you can channel...is because I can too.
"I went to the tower ninety years ago. Your mother was an Accepted then. She and I were friends. She advanced, I unfortunately didn't have the strength to go beyond a novice. I decided to come here to Shienar. I used what I learned to help here. She sought me out, because I was a tie to the tower. Aiko you channeled. You felt it. If you say you didn't I will hold back for now, but I know you did feel it. The warmth running through your blood. The feeling when that mans neck snapped back into place, and yes I saw you do that. What about when you channeled at the birthing this morning? You think it is that easy to turn a child? You are doing these things by instinct. Before it goes any farther you have to go to the Grey Tower. Tell me you didn't feel it, and I will let up." Hadna gave her a stern look.
"I Don't know what I felt. You are tuning everything I know upside down. I need to think. This is too much." Aiko yanked her arm away and walked through the door. She could hear no more of this. Her father was her father. Her mother died when she was young in a Trolloc raid. She could channel, as much as she could move a mountain. She took two steps down the walk way. She barely heard Hadna scream, before everything shook with an explosion somewhere in the distance. She fell to her knee's.
Hadna was by her side, and lifting her to her feet. "What was that?" She stared toward the western gate. There was flames shooting to the sky. Lightning started to flash somewhere just past the flames. There was another explosion, that shook the ground.
Hadna held on to her. She had fear in her eyes. "We need to grab our things. There are going to be wounded. I am not strong enough to feel it from this far, but that looks like the One power being used. Let's go Aiko." They gathered the bags, and made their way toward that fire shooting into the sky.
There was nothing but chaos. Men were on the ground with smoke drifting from them. Others were trying in vain to get to their feet. There were some that were ripped apart. Light what had she walked into? The fear on Hadna's face was replaced by determination. They both went to work. She realized that Hadna let her go and tend to the wounded without aid.
She didn't know how much time had past, but the wounded never stopped. They kept piling up. There was just too many of them. She stitched wounds closed. She set bones. She even had to walk away from a few knowing it was a lost cause. She had lost track of how many of them there were. She stood up from a young man, and Hadna was striding across the courtyard.
"There are Grey Tower Aes Sedai, and Asha'man here. They are fighting out there, but there are Yellows inside. You may not believe me, but you will have to believe them. Be smart. She turned on her heels and went to the next set a wounded. Aiko did the same. She didn't have time for this foolish game. There were so many that needed her help.
She rolled over an unconscious soldier. He was of a low ranking from his uniform. She was staring into Isaac's blood stained face. "No!" She screamed. She felt for a pulse and found something so small. He had a gash on his head. He was pale he had lost a lot of blood. He was cold to the touch. Whether the story Hadna told was true or not she would not lose him. She let instinct take over.
She breathed a slow breath. She placed her hands on his forehead. His skull was splintered, and there was blood flooding his chest. One breath. She felt herself open. The most wondrous feeling ran through her. She was a channel to him. The sweet flow went from her to him. It was like they were one. She felt his skull knit, and the broken ribs move back to were they were supposed to be. She let go of him. The flow changed. She began to drown into it. It turn from ecstasy to pain.
She felt something slam into her. There was no flow anymore. She dropped to her knee's. In Front of her was a woman with red gold hair. She wore a gown of pale yellow silk. It was stained in places and torn in others. She was regarding Aiko with stern green eyes.
"Get up child. You can't force Saidar. You can only guide it by surrendering." She stood uncertain of what the woman wanted. "When this is done you are going to the Grey Tower child. Stay with me. You will be safe." Aiko looked at her brother. "Sorren grab him. She healed him partially, but he needs a lot more." A tall lanky man grabbed Isaac and lifted him easily into his arms. "Come child I have a battle to fight. Stay close to me. The Yellows are going to love you."
- Accepted (10 November 2008)
- Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah (20 January 2010)
- Sitter of the Yellow Ajah (27 February 2010)