Disclaimer: I don’t own the Wheel of Time
Moiraine Damodred was dancing.
I stared at her, stunned to silence. I had seen her dance before, of course. She had taught Siuan to dance. I had watched them.
Yet...this. I had never imagined Moiraine doing this. My face was burning, as I huddled further into the hood of my cloak, trying hard not to listen to the jeering and the catcalling.
She did another twirl, displaying more than her ankles. I hissed through my teeth. I glanced around at the crowd, looking at anyone but Moiraine.
Siuan Sanche was here. I stared at her now, astonished. She stood near the kitchens, watching Moiraine with a grim face. Of course. Moiraine, the prettier one, would be delegated to...dancing...while Siuan would be working in the kitchens. Her hands looked red, I observed, and hacked. Yet she wasn’t without her ‘admirers’. A few men plucked at her dress, heckling, yet she retorted with something that made them drop their hands and scowl.
Moiraine had stopped, breathing hard. She was glistening with sweat, her glittery costume sticking to her. That earned her a swift comment and a caress that made her face flush and she hurried off, brushing past Siuan into the kitchens. Siuan stared after her for a moment, concerned, and followed.
I sat silently, nursing my watered-down ale, sipping occasionally. I didn’t have the money to order another.
The night progressed and Moiraine did one more dance for us, much to the delight of the man sitting beside me, judging by his moans and hand down the front of his breeches. I kept my hood up and attempted to look as masculine-like as I could. Looking around, I realised I was the only woman in the inn – apart from Moiraine and Siuan. I shifted uncomfortably.
”She’s a quer’ one, isn’t she?” The man beside me muttered to me.
It took the innkeeper to wave his cudgel before the inn slowly began to empty. Siuan came out and slowly began to clear the tables, tiredly. I still sat in the shadows, unwilling to announce myself yet unwilling to leave without speaking to them. I fiddled with my tankard. I still had not finished my drink.
She came up to me. “You’ll have to leave,” She said brusquely.
“Did you hear me?” Her tone became, if possible, more aggressive.
I looked up at her, my hood falling back slightly. She inhaled sharply, staring at me. “Elaida. I thought...” She let that trail away.
“I had died?” I smiled humourlessly. “Like the others? Yes. I thought the same of you. And Moiraine,”
I paused. There was no point in old animosities. No point. “I’m sorry for...what I did to you,” I smiled hopefully.
She didn’t smile back and obviously did not forgive me. Her eyebrows rose slightly. “Oh? Much good it did. No one can...do that ...now,”
I nodded. I took a swig of my ale grimly. I didn’t like being reminded of that. “No one could have foreseen that,”
Siuan shrugged. “There where hints, Elaida, hints here and there that we chose to ignore,”
I sighed. “Apparently the eyes of the White Tower where very blind,”
She flinched at the name. “You can’t wish for things that couldn’t be,”
She didn’t sound like she believed it herself. She bit her lip and I gazed around at the common room. I got the impression Siuan wished quite a bit.
“Do you want to see Moiraine?” She asked abruptly, changing the subject.
“Yes, I think I would,” It would be nice to be in the company of friends. I almost laughed. Perhaps ‘friends’ was stretching the term a bit. Yet they where the first familiar faces I had seen in years. Apparently I was there’s, no matter how much they detested me.
“Wait here. I’ll finish,” She picked up my mug. “I don’t think you’ll want to finish this. Rats swim in the ale barrels,”
I grimaced. “No. I don’t think I will,” She moved onto the next table, picking up the mugs and bringing them to the counter. I seen the innkeeper mutter something to her and rub her thigh. She shook him off and returned to me. “Come on then,” She said resignedly.
I got up and followed her up the stairs, where she pushed open a door to a narrow room, with two beds. Moiraine was sat on one of the beds, head in her hands, tears running through her fingers.
Siuan made a soft hissing sound, kneeling down in front of her and gently pulling her hands from her face and clasping them in her own hands. I stood awkwardly by the door, watching this exchange of affection. “Don’t cry,” Siuan muttered pleadingly, gently brushing away the tears with a callused thumb. “Please don’t,”
Moiraine sniffled. I noticed she hadn’t changed out of her dancing costume. “I can’t do this anymore, Siuan,” She whispered in a defeated tone. “I can’t do it,”
Siuan sighed weakly and I wasn’t completely surprised to see her kiss Moiraine’s hands before she let go of them and sit beside her, wrapping an arm around her shoulder. “Elaida’s here,” She announced in a flat sort of voice.
Moiraine’s head snapped around and she stared at me as though I where an apparition.
“Hello,” I said rather pathetically.
“Elaida,” She said in a wondering tone. “I thought you where dead,”
“So it seems is the popular opinion,” I sat down facing them and clasped my hands.
Moiraine looked wretched. She was pale and tired looking. Siuan looked only a little better because her face wasn’t red and puffy.
There was a silence.
“How...?” I gestured silently.
Moiraine grimaced and Siuan answered, “After Tarmon Gai’don...there was no one else. We left and found work...here,”
I looked at them both. “I’m sorry,”
Moiraine shrugged. “Is your life any better, Elaida?” All three of us had been trained for Aes Sedai from childhood. We knew how to be little else.
“No. Its not,” I sighed. “I have no reason to pity you – I don’t,”
Siuan said vaguely. “This is probably the longest time we have been together without arguing,” Gently, she pulled Moiraine into her and kissed her on the temple. She did not seem to notice what she was doing.
There was another uncomfortable silence. Siuan studied the bedclothes intently and Moiraine watched her.
Slowly, I got up. “I suppose I better go,” I said reluctantly. “I need to find...somewhere to sleep,” My cheeks where tinged red. I would probably end up sleeping in a hedge somewhere.
Moiraine’s eyes widened. “Surely...indoors?”
Moiraine looked at Siuan. “You can stay here...if you want,” Siuan looked as though she where going to protest, yet fell silent. She nodded reluctantly.
I was given one of the beds. Siuan and Moiraine would share. I didn’t think it was too far off the usual arrangement.
Later, I awakened. I wasn’t sure what woke me. Everything appeared normal...until I glanced over at the bed Moiraine and Siuan shared. I blushed.
One of Moiraine’s hands gripped the headstand of the bed. The other was entangled in Siuan’s hair, as she pressed her head closer to her breast. She was moaning softly and I could see Siuan’s hands working under the bedclothes.
Moiraine looked over at me. Our eyes locked and she didn’t seem very bothered by me watching. She smiled slightly and did something I never thought she would do.
She released the headstand and reached out her hand to me. I stared at her. I wondered did she mean what I thought she meant. Surely not. Surely not Moiraine Damodred, the Cairhienin?
She raised her eyebrows encouragingly and slowly, I reached out and gripped her hand. She smiled at me and Siuan glanced in my direction. Siuan’s eyes widened and she looked at Moiraine questioningly. Moiraine whispered something that sounded distinctively like ‘she’s lonely’.
Siuan looked again at me, then nodded. I think she would have marched into Shayol Ghul had Moiraine told her to.
Trembling, I pushed back the bedclothes and knelt beside their bed. Siuan turned away, under the bedclothes, to attend to Moiraine. I looked down at her, unsure.
She smiled and gripped the sides of my face, gently stroking along my cheek. Then she pulled me down and kissed me hard. She bit down hard on my lip as Siuan’s deft movements made her come.
I came out of that kiss gasping.
She tugged me insistently into the bed beside her. For a moment, I lay, self-conscious, shy, and aware of Siuan’s hostility.
Slowly, I felt Siuan’s hand on my thigh, rubbing up and down. Moiraine tugged my shift over my head, slowly running her fingertips over my nipples. She smiled when they hardened under her touch.
I yelped suddenly. Siuan had bitten me ever so slightly. She straddled my lower leg and I could feel her as she rubbed herself up and down, leaving a fine sheen, glistening wetly.
Moiraine took this opportunity to duck her head, gently touching her lips to my nipples. I gripped almost convulsively at the bedclothes. She put pressure on them, squeezing them between her teeth.
Siuan entered me first, thrusting herself in so deeply I jerked and shouted a wordless cry.
Moiraine joined her a minute later. I was trembling. That had to be four fingers, yet I changed my guess with every stroke.
I gripped the headstand so tightly my knuckles whitened. Sweat was beading on my forehead.
Someone had a thumb in there.
I came hard, shaking violently. Then Siuan was atop me, staring down, and ran a trembling finger over my lower lip. My tongue darted out, grazing her finger, and I tasted myself. She ran her lips from my right cheek to my left, over my nose. Then kissed me, gently biting my lip and muttered, “I forgive you, Elaida,”
I smiled at her and this time she managed a weak smile in return. Then Moiraine crawled up beside us.
I believe I was the one with the mouth pressed into Siuan’s crotch when she came, with Moiraine kissing her neck. The same with Moiraine. They let me do that, I think, because I never would again.
Then I left their bed and left them to their lovemaking. I tried to ignore their soft sighs and only once later did I have to relieve myself of the pressure their noises built up in me.
We didn’t talk about it the next morning. In fact, we acted as if it had not happened. After a meager breakfast of porridge, Moiraine kissed my cheek and passed me some coins that I tried to refuse. Yet she insisted and Siuan stood stoically beside her, muttering how I had more need of it than they did.
I didn’t like to leave them. I was better off than they were where, in a way. Moiraine had bartered her dignity and Siuan her spirit. Now they where beaten.
I smiled at them and took my leave.