|Portrayed by||Blake Lively|
|Affiliation||The Grey Tower|
Avalan is a tall slender girl, standing at 5’8”. She has a small nose and high cheekbones, with lips that are slightly downturned. She has a brilliant smile if she does allow herself a smile, but as she learns more of the world and the people in it, she finds herself doing so less and less.
She has a tendency to get overwhelmed with others’ emotions, especially negative ones. She has always been protective of those who are in distress, but after she manifested the ability to speak to wolves, it feels as if that part of her has intensified 3-fold. And being able to smell emotions hasn’t helped in the least. She focuses so much on the negative and the hurting, that she often completely misses the beauty around her.
Her eyes are a brilliant golden color, always seeming to absorb and reflect nearby light, glowing with a barely restrained ferocity when she is angered They are topped by eyebrows that would look too heavy if her hair was darker. She has cut her reddish blonde, wavy hair short, leaving it barely grazing her shoulder.
She is usually seen in pants and simple shirts, often with a sleeveless leather vest on top. She prefers to be able to move freely, and finds skirts far too restricting, though she will don one for formal events.
Avalan released a growl of frustration as one of her brothers - Maddick most likely - let out another screech. She had been around them and their rambunctious antics all her life, but these last few days she had wanted to rip out her own hair on multiple occasions. Was it just her, or were they getting louder?
She put a few more items in her bag and closed it, picking it up and walking out of her room. She walked - she wasn’t stomping, well, not really - to the kitchen and set her bag on the kitchen table with a little more force than strictly necessary. She gave her mother a look filled with despair and frustration. Sheyna smiled at her and patted her cheek.
“I know the boys are being loud today, but they’ll wear out eventually.” Her mother glanced her over, and nodded at the bag. “Are you ready to go? Pax should be here soon.”
“Yea, I’ve got everything. We’re taking some food stuffs along, but not much. We'll do some fishing most likely. We’re going to be gone 3 days and 2 nights, should be pretty routine.” She kissed her mother’s cheek, picked up her bag and headed to the door. “See you in three days. Tell the monsters goodbye from me.” Her mother’s laughter followed her outside, and she saw that Paxton, her cousin, was already outside and wrestling with her brothers. “Pax! Let’s go! And don’t encourage them, or we’ll never get them housebroken.”
Laughing, Paxton jogged over, carrying his own bag, and they started down the road.
After 3½ hours, they arrived at their campsite and made quick work of setting up. As Avalan put together some wood to make a fire, she thought she heard someone call her name; she glanced up sharply. Pax had gone to the river to catch some fish, and no one else was around for miles. After looking around for a few moments, she realized she hadn’t actually heard anything. Rather, it had been...an impression. Yes, she had felt like someone was calling to her but hadn’t heard anything.
Looking around once more, she finally shrugged and went back to her work. She felt it again. She froze this time, tuning in to the impression, the impression that someone was talking to her. It was as if someone was inside her head, saying her name without speaking. Except, it wasn’t her name. She was just aware that someone, or something, was trying to get her attention. Her heart started to pound, and a sweat broke out on her forehead. What was happening to her?
She yelped and jumped to her feet when Pax was suddenly beside her. He jumped at her sudden movement, hands flying to her arms. It was only then that she realized that she had swung her fist at him; she lowered it sheepishly. “Light! But you startled me.”
“It would seem so. Where were you? You’re usually not this jumpy.” Pax let go of her and eyed her with concern.
She trusted Pax implicitly, with her life even. But how did she even begin to explain what had just happened? She was about to try when it happened again. She gasped and doubled over, this time it was coming on much stronger. There were flashes of images she couldn’t catch, and again she felt that someone was speaking to her. This time it felt like there was more than one. And there was...an awareness. She thought she could point in the exact direction this was coming from. She did, in fact, point. “There’s...someone in my head. It’s like they’re trying to talk to me. And it’s coming from over there. Could it be an Aes Sedai? I know we’re out in the middle of nowhere, but my mother has told me stories of what they can do. This doesn’t seem out the realm of possibilities for them.”
Instead of calling her foolish or telling her she was crazy, Pax looked in the direction she was pointing and took a step forward. “There’s only one way to find out.”
Walking behind him, Avalan guided him to where she could feel...something. She knew something was there, she just didn’t know what. They continued forward, and she felt it getting closer. There was a stand of trees in front of them, and behind that…
She yanked on Pax’s arm, forcing him to stop, and raised a finger to her lips. “They’re right behind that tree, whoever is doing this to me,” she whispered as softly as she could. Pax nodded.
Very slowly, they crept forward, but Avalan was sure that whoever was on the other side of the trees was just as aware of her as she was of them. They took the final step, and there, waiting in a small clearing, was a single man. Avalan stared, feeling somewhat underwhelmed. There was nothing about him that was notable, or even threatening, at all. He looked like a normal man standing in the woods. She thought that maybe this wasn’t who they were looking for. But, his stance seemed to suggest he had been waiting for them, and the look in his eyes...his eyes. They were golden. Gold, like a wolf’s. She shuddered, but couldn’t look away.
“You don’t need to be frightened,” the man said. “I’m glad you followed our call.” He had a smooth voice, and his tone was reassuring, but also expectant, as though he was waiting for something.
“‘Our’ call? You and who else?” Avalan glanced around the clearing, looking for more people. She spotted no one. But in the silence, she realized she still felt the awareness. It wasn’t the man she had been following at all. It was coming from somewhere else. Her gaze slid to her left, towards a tall shrub. There. Someone was behind the bush.
As soon as she thought it, the shrub shook slightly and she saw movement. Instead of another man, a wolf walked out from behind it. She gasped and stumbled back, Pax placing his strong hands on her shoulders and pulling her behind him.
Neither of them spoke, they just stared at the wolf, who was staring back. Avalan looked at the wolf’s eyes, and in the quiet, an image suddenly popped into her mind. Sunlight filtering through trees, with one of the rays lighting on a small dancing wolf pup. And that image gave her a word: Sundancer. She didn’t know how she knew, but she knew that was this wolf’s name.
She shifted her gaze back to the man. “Why do I know his name?”
“Because he just told you his name,” he replied simply.
Avalan stared at him. She realized she knew what he was. Her mother had told her of people she called “Wolfkin.” They could communicate with wolves, not with words exactly, but with images and smells, and they had eyes like a wolf. She stepped out from behind Pax’s shoulders and faced the man. “Am I a wolfkin, or whatever you call it? Is that what was..is happening to me?”
The man nodded, looking patient. “Yes. It seems you only recently manifested the ability. The wolves tell me they’ve seen you and your friend in these woods before, but they could not speak to you then.” He eyed her for a moment. “You seem ready to learn. I cannot teach you everything, most of it you will have to learn for yourself. But I can help you understand who you are.”
Avalan glanced at Pax. He was being surprisingly quiet. She wondered what he thought about all he was hearing. “Do you want to stay, or go?” she asked him, realizing she had decided to stay with the man and learn what she could.
Pax seemed to collect himself, then turned to her. “I’ll stay. Not because I think you need my help or protection, but I just don’t want to explain to your mother why I came home without you.” He shuddered. “And the Light help me if your father is back.”
Avalan smirked, then turned back to the man - blood and ashes, she needed to find out his name. “All right, start talking.”
Avalan bolted upright when someone tapped on her shoulder. She glanced over at the person who had startled her out of her reverie, then quickly wiped the scowl from her face when she saw that it was her father’s first mate. She turned from the railing and faced him. “Light, Hanson, but you startled me. What do you want?”
Hanson smiled a bit sheepishly. “Your father wants to see you in his quarters. Didn’t seem too urgent, but I’d hurry just the same.”
Avalan nodded and started across the deck of the ship; her father, Captain Garren Mond’wil, was a busy man, and he might not have time later if she didn’t make her way towards him quickly. Several of the deckhands called out to her as she passed them, she was well known to the crew of the Alcair Aldazar. Despite having joined her father on countless voyages, she had never joined his crew. She knew her way around a ship and could help out in a pinch, but that’s where her interest in sailing ended.
Her parents were Altarans. Her father operated his ship of the port in Ebou Dar, but when he wasn’t saling he lived with his wife and children in the small village of Ionin Spring.
Her mother, Sheyna Bastian, had been an Aes Sedai in the White Tower prior to it being destroyed. When that happened, she had fled, making her way back to Altara. Upon reaching her home country, she met a young Garren on the outskirts of a small village. She had promptly wrapped him in Air until he identified himself; he had promptly fallen in love with her. They were married 3 weeks later and she bonded him that same night.
They had settled in Ionin Spring, starting a small farm and selling produce to the villagers. Her father soon grew restless, bought a ship and started a trading business. Over the years, he had made a name for himself and his trading business grew prosperous and even catered to the occasional Lord or Lady. As far as Avalan knew, her parents’ relationship hadn’t suffered from her father’s long absences when he was sailing. Her mother was a force to be reckoned with, and Avalan suspected that if anyone would even try to tell her mother that she needed a man around the farm, she’d likely challenge them to a sword fight, or just hang them from a tree by their toes.
Living in Altara and spending nearly half her life surrounded by sailors, Avalan had learned to fight with a sword, and she could defend herself well enough in a fist or knife fight. Duels weren’t as common out in the country, but she had to be on her toes whenever they visited Ebou Dar. She had mastered the serene face her mother would often wear, even if her inner emotions were near to boiling over. Walking around Ebou Dar with a scowl on your face was a sure way to find yourself looking at the wrong end of a very sharp sword.
She knocked on the door to her father’s quarters, only entering after his expected, yet curt, “Come”.
“You wanted to see me, Father?”
He turned from his work and gestured for her to sit down on the room’s only other chair. “Yes, sweets, please sit down.”He waited for her to take a seat, puzzlement etched in her brow. This wasn’t just him wanting to see his daughter, he had something important to tell her. “Sweets, things are about to change, and I want you to understand how and why. As you know, we just departed Illian. While there I was approached by Lord Cantlin. He wants me to work for him. Only for him,” he paused, watching her and waiting for a response.
Avalan took a moment to run this around in her head before responding. “What about Mother and the boys? Will they stay on the farm? I assume if you’re going to work privately for a Lord then you can’t keep returning home as often as you do now.”
“No. He has offered them, and you, a home on his estate,” her father replied. “Sweets, I’ve decided to take this position. The pay will be good, and I might be able to afford a new ship soon, and I think your mother will be excited for this as well. She loves the farm, but she’s getting restless. If we live in Illian, she will be able to accompany me more often if she wishes. I can take her all over the world!” Her father was starting to sound excited.
Avalan grinned at his enthusiasm. “Then do it. Go. Pack up the family.” Her smile faded and she looked at her father with a soft expression. “But you know I can’t go with you.”
He nodded, eyes gentle and understanding. “I’ve always known that you were restless and longing to find your place in the world. Farming and sailing aren’t for you, and I imagine sitting at a lord’s estate will not be any better.” Her father paused. “So what will you do?”
Avalan took in a deep breath. She had, in fact, already decided what she wanted a while ago, had just never found a way to tell her family. “I want to go to the Grey Tower.” She continued before her father could respond. “I want to be a warder, like you. I believe the Aes Sedai, some of them anyway, do good things for people, and I want to be a part of that.”
Her father nodded slowly, understanding on his face. “I should have seen it. Ever since you manifested the ability to communicate with wolves, you have developed a very protective nature, even fiercely so. Sweets, you have my blessing, and your mother will undoubtedly add hers as well. You have much to learn before you’ll make a proper warder to an Aes Sedai out and about in the world, but the Grey Tower will be able to teach you. And if it doesn’t, your Aes Sedai will close any gaps in your education, trust me on that,” he said the last with a twinkle in his eye.
“I guess I will prepare for departure as soon as we’re back at the farm then. Say my goodbyes, and then I’ll be off.” She released a breath, feeling like a weight had been lifted from her. She was finally going to set her own path, find her purpose in life. It felt so good!
- Drin (16 April 2018)