Most often Elyscia's face has a stubbornly determined cast to it. She tends to stand rigidly, with a slight frown on her face. At first glance she doesn't seem pretty until she smiles or laughs. Her whole face lights up when she's happy or content and she is lovely then. She is medium height and a little to thin. Her movements are sharp or quick. She walks fast and often reacts immediately to a situation often without taking time to think everything through. She cut her hair short when setting out for the Tower so it only comes to about the nape of her neck, except for her bangs which constantly hang in her face. She has long eyelashes that accentuate her dark grey eyes which are her best feature. She might be considered beautiful if she let her hair grow, put a little extra weight on and didn't always seem to be weighing everything and finding it unsatisfactory.
Elyscia Mordel was born the oldest of twin sisters to Gabrila and Ketrin Mordel of Mayene. Her parents were simple farming stock from Mayene. The first ten years of her life were mostly happy. She worked on the farm with her sister, Kesiera. Her parents had no other children, and had not been young when the twins were born so as they got older they took on more and more of the responsibilities around the farm and at home. Things changed when the girls began to change from children into young women. Elyscia was down to earth, hard working and practical. She enjoyed the outdoors and while she daydreamed like any other child she was content with life. Kesiera was different. As she got older she changed; dressing differently and attempting to gain the grace and stature of a lady from a story. Elyscia found this to be an absurd waste of time and the girls, who had once been very close, began to drift apart and argue.
When the girls were halfway through their fifteenth year a family moved into town. They were merchants and moderately wealthy. Elyscia took very little notice at first, but eventually she met the merchant's son Merrick and he began courting her. For a very short time Elyscia thought she was truly falling in love - until he decided Kesiera was a better match. When he began courting Kesiera she was angry. When they were set to announce a betrothal she felt betrayed. Instead of stay and pretend they were a happy family she left for the Grey Tower intended to become Gaidar.
The Wheel weaves as it wills, however and the life of a Warder was not for her. Almost as soon as she arrived at the Tower she was identified as having the spark that met she would channelsaidar whether she wished to or not. She was made a novice the same day. Despite her severe disappointment she excelled at Tower life. Elyscia soaked up knowledge, showing Talents in Cloud Dancing and Illusion while she was still a novice - although she utterly failed at Healing. She also showed an interest in cultures and history, mastering the Old Tongue in a way few in the Tower did.
Several years past during which she never wrote home and did her best not to think about it. With how busy novices were she had little time for homesickness in any case. In fact she managed to avoid thinking of home until the time came for her test for Acceptance. Elyscia went into the arches not knowing what to expect and what she found on the other side etched itself into her soul, but she came out stronger for the most part.
The nightmares began shortly after she became Accepted. She saw her sister, again and again, in pain. Kesiera had been the center of her first Arch and in the beginning she believed the dreams were simply an echo of that fear. When they didn't fade she approached the Mistress of Novices for help. After some explaining Zaephra Sedai took her back to Mayene to determine the state of things there.
It was worse than she had feared. Kesiera had born a child who had died. Her husband had died and their father had been accused of his murder. Their mother, Gabrila was alive but the farm was failing and she was in at best an adequate state. Even worse, they soon discovered Kesiera could channel and had been doing so without control for some time. Ketrin Mordel died the night before they came to take Kesiera to the Tower. The events in Mayene led Zaephra Sedai to suspect that Elysica held the Talent for Dreaming.
Relations did not improve for the twins in the coming months, either. Kesiera was angry and bitter, grieving the loss of the life she had made for herself and furious at Elyscia for running away for so many years. Elyscia was forced to put their relationship aside and focus on her studies as an Accepted. She chose a difficult field of study - the Seanchan. Elyscia decided her skills were suited for diplomacy and action in the world so she selected the Gray Ajah and devoted herself to preparing for a time when the Tower would need to make peace with an enemy that believed they were animals to be collared. To win the Last Battle an armistice with them might be vital and no one in the Tower knew enough to be ready to deal with them.
She was raised shortly after her sister took up novice white. It was a relief in many ways - they didn't pass each other often in the halls and in the beginning she had little contact with the novices. In fact Elyscia spent a great deal of time studying, and she listened to every rumor of sul'dam anddamane separated from the rest of the Seanchan forces who might be able to tell her more. Several rumors of that type came and went. Many she checked out and many were not credible enough to be worth the effort.
Elyscia had worn the shawl for less than a year when a rumor came that was credible and although she didn't have much hope that it would pan out she went to Andor to determine if it was true. She spent several days there in a fruitless search. On the morning of the third day she woke to the feeling of saidar being channeled strongly in the streets below. An escaped damane had been cornered by her former sul'dam and a small group of Seanchan guards. Elyscia rushed out to try to save the former damane. When she caught up with her and the sul'dam it ended in a confrontation during which the sul'dam and her guards died and the young channeler Elyscia was trying to save accidentally used a Portal Stone taking her and those she had just killed to a different world.
The world Elyscia and the girl emerged in was very different from their own. The Seanchan had gained a powerful foothold in the Westlands, capturing most of the coastal cities as well as some of the Dragon's staunchest allies. The Salidar Aes Sedai had been all but wiped out - but these were things she would only discover later. At first she prompted the girl to try to use the Stone again, to take them back; however she was unable to even find saidar. With guards and sul'dam swarming nearby she had no choice but to mask her own ability and disguise herself as one of the Holders of the Leash. She took the paneled dress from the dead sul'dam. Convincing the girl, whose name was Mirina, to disguise herself as damane and trust Elyscia not to let her come to harm was more difficult but the approach of real sul'dam made for a compelling argument.
For the next sixteen years Elyscia posed as a sul'dam in the Seanchan lands. Six months into her stay there she made contact with a resistance group struggling not only to overthrow the Seanchan but trying to smuggle channelers out of their controlled regions. Elyscia became one of their most valuable agents - a woman the position of a sul'dam and willing to help. She fought to maintain her cover while trying to keep the women taken as damane from suffering and getting as many of them out of captivity as possible. She had several opportunities to slip away into safer areas of the Westlands but she felt she could best use her skills where she was.
She had been there for eight years, becoming respected as a sul'dam in Seanchan society and rising through the ranks to be raised to the Low Blood and named der'sul'dam, when she was introduced to the High Lady Edreste. She had not been born of the Blood but like Elyscia had risen far through her accomplishments. She was a war leader, expanding the Empire's borders and capturing many damane for service. She kept many herself and sent many more back to Seanchan if they had useful or special skills. Among Edreste's personal damane was Elyscia's sister, Kesiera. The resemblance between them was noticed immediately, and it was only due to the fact the Kesiera's mind had been broken in the training that Elyscia was able to redirect the conversation, leading the noblewoman to believe that she and her sister had been tested and Kesiera alone found to be damane.
In the weeks that followed the discovery of her sister Elyscia made subtle efforts to try and purchase her from Edreste. The thought of Kesiera in one of those collars nearly consumed her waking life. When none of her efforts paid off she went to the resistance to see if there was anything they could do to reach her sister. It turned out they had a contact in Edreste's household - a Seanchan named Tamair who had come to believe that the way the Empire operated was wrong. The resistance members agreed to set up a meeting between them.
When they met Tamair agreed to help Elyscia try to smuggle her twin out of captivity. The plan was complicated. Kesiera could not be removed from the kennels; someone would easily notice that. They had to plot an ambush when she would be out and it had to be away from the city where reinforcements could not easily be recalled. Kesiera's death had to be faked so that she could be removed from the country. It was risky, but they considered it their best bet. They had to wait months for an appropriate opportunity. Elyscia and a small group of the resistance members went to retrieve Kesiera.
At first the plan seemed to go well. The guards were dispatched and the sul'dam killed. Kesiera was one of three damane present and it seemed they'd be able to save more than one woman. They had been shielded but Elyscia was the only channeler among the resistance group that had come to free them. She had tied off the shields and failed to notice when Kesiera picked her way past it. When they removed the collar Kesiera erupted with saidar, lashing out violently. In the span of seconds two of her companions were killed and Tamair badly injured. Elyscia tried to shield her sister but with Kesiera filled with the Source it proved too difficult. She tried fending off Kesiera's attacks, and tried to reach her with words. Ultimately nothing worked. With no other options, Elyscia killed her sister.
When the dust settled she turned her attention to the dead and the injured. Elyscia had no skill in Healing - she was abysmal at it. Tamair was barely clinging to life but he was conscious. Since she had no other way to help him she asked his permission to bond him as a warder.
For the next nine years Elyscia and Tamair worked often in different places to throw back Seanchan control over the Westland territories they had conquered. Eventually he was freed from the service of Estende and Elyscia hired him as one of her guards officially. He became the captain of her household guard and they had the freedom to work together more easily than they had when he served the High Lady Estende.
Then the pattern began to think and faint spirits could be seen walking the streets. Fear became the byword of the day. To those with knowledge of the prophecies of the Dragon it began to become clear that the Last Battle was very close. The forces of the Dragon pushed hard against the Seanchan forces, looking to consolidate the land before they faced the Dark One. War broke out on all fronts. During the chaos Elyscia was able to get many damane to freedom. Finally the forces of the Light reached the city where she had made her home. A real battle broke out with fighting in the streets. As a sul'dam she was expected to participate. Instead, she served a mild brew of forkroot tea in as many of the damane kennels as she could and she hid many of the a'dam in chests sealed with destructive weaves. She knew that the ter'angreal would not be destroyed if the chests were breached but the person opening them could come to great harm.
She had planned to get as many of her allies out of the city as she could, taking as many of the drugged damane with them but the battle reached her faster than she anticipated. The Seanchan forces discovered what she had done and came for her. The battle burned hot and she would have died if Tamair had not put himself between her and a Seanchan sword. His death wracked her with pain. Still, she had to move forward. She tried to get out but was cut off at every turn until she was driven back to the place where the portal stone lay half buried. Elyscia was half mad with desperation and she gambled, using the Portal Stone to try and go home.
The world twisted and flickered around her and she found herself back in Andor. Elyscia made her way back to the Grey Tower and was amazed to note that only a few days had passed on this side of the Stone. She presented the diaries and records she had kept of her time on the other side to the Amyrlin Seat.
Over the next few weeks she tried to recover from the ordeal and readapt to Tower life. She was stunned when she was appointed Mistress of Novices, but Elyscia vowed to do the office justice.
- Accepted (16 January 2010)
- Council of Youth (14 January 2010)
- Aes Sedai of the Grey Ajah (24 February 2010)
- Sitter of the Grey Ajah (1 March 2010)
- Mistress of the Revels (24 February 2010)
- Mistress of Novices (27 April 2010)