A/N: Ah...my first experiment with third-person narrative.
Egwene drew a heavy breath, exhausted. "I suppose I was afraid of that, that I'd be changed by the Power. That and the Trollocs. And the Fade. And...Moiraine Sedai, in the name of the light, why did Trollocs come to Emond's Field?"
Moiraine's head snapped around, startling Egwene, as the Aes Sedai peered into the trees. Slowly, she stood, Egwene nervously rising by her side, stopped with an upheld hand. "Stay here," Moiraine said coolly, gripping her staff close and disappearing into the undergrowth. Egwene strained her ears, listening, yet the Aes Sedai moved silently.
That unnerved Egwene more than the sudden departure – surely there had to be at least a stirring of wind to mark the woman's passing? Yet there wasn't.
She sat silently, hoping to hear footsteps returning. Yet Moiraine returned minutes later, appearing silently and startling, so much so Egwene barely contained her yelp. She covered her uneasiness by carefully arranging her skirts, adapting a face close to, yet not so solid, as the Aes Sedai's mask of perfect calm.
Moiraine came and sat beside her, silent, pensive.
"What was it, Moiraine Sedai?" Egwene asked curiously.
"Nothing to concern yourself with, child," Moiraine sounded unruffled, yet there was an undercurrent there that Egwene could not quite pinpoint. Perhaps this was as close as Moiraine Sedai ever got to a frown.
Egwene fell silent, tugging at her skirts. Moiraine watched her calmly and said, in a gentler tone, "Nothing to worry about,"
"Not a Trolloc?" Egwene replied, with a smile to show she was joking.
The Aes Sedai didn't laugh, just looked at her steadily. "No. Not a Trolloc,"
Egwene swallowed slightly, wondering if there was ever a time to joke with an Aes Sedai. Probably not.
Moiraine had said that the One Power would not change her. But Egwene could not help but wonder if it had changed Moiraine. She could not imagine anyone being as cold as she was in their youth.
Moiraine smiled slightly, a surprise to Egwene, as if she could hear her thoughts, "The One Power does not change you, Egwene," She murmured. "I cannot lie. Perhaps the training is a different matter, yes?"
Egwene blinked. "Perhaps, Moiraine Sedai,"
Moiraine's smile disappeared and she looked away. "You should be wary in the Tower, Egwene,"
"Wary?" Egwene did not understand. Surely the Tower was the safest place there was? No Trollocs, no Fades... "Of what?"
Moiraine didn't answer the question. "I would hate to see you get hurt,"
Egwene shifted uncomfortably, aware of the woman's proximity. It was always the same when she was around Moiraine. It was as if she wanted to leave yet didn't want to at the same time. Moiraine had a compelling presence that drew Egwene to her. The only other person that had ever elicited that type of response from Eqwene was...Nynaeve al'Meara. She wondered why Nynaeve had done when she realised her protégé had abandoned her training as Wisdom to follow a woman Nynaeve hated.
Egwene felt her cheeks heat.
"What is it, child?" Egwene was shocked at the softness of Moiraine's tone.
"Nothing, Aes Sedai,"
Egwene knew Moiraine knew she was lying, yet the elder woman did not pursue the topic. Apparently, if you respected Moiraine's privacy, she would respect yours. She sat calmly, eyes and face blank, hands loosely intertwined around the staff she held.
Later, when she lay in her blankets, Egwene thought of Nynaeve. She would undoubtedly consider it a betrayal. And it was a betrayal, in a sense.
Egwene enjoyed Moiraine's lessons. She was becoming far more than any goodwife of the Two Rivers could imagine – an Aes Sedai, the things of Master Merrilin's stories. Not that Master Merrilin told them that often, not now.
She almost regretted Nynaeve's sudden arrival at Baerlon. She had almost forgotten about the Wisdom, tall, dark-haired and just as angry as Egwene remembered her. The moment Nynaeve seen the younger woman, she had her crushed against her, kissing her hair and thanking the light for their safety. Egwene flushed, aware of Moiraine's gaze, and broke the hug quickly. Nynaeve had looked stunned, almost hurt, but had quickly recovered, as she always did.
Besides, Nynaeve loved Lan. Or was growing to love him, anyway. Egwene knew enough to know that. Jealously had a bitter taste. She had not expected to feel jealous at Nynaeve mooning over someone else. She had not expected to moon over someone else herself. Especially an Aes Sedai, whose cool stare never broke.
She knew it wasn't love. She was too young to know what love was – she knew enough to know that as well. Rand thought he loved her. She loved him, too, as a brother.
Egwene was not looking forward to the inevitable discussion with Nynaeve, which occurred not long after she arrived. Nynaeve had cornered her after the Wisdom had spoken extensively to the Aes Sedai, arguing, and had exchanged a few words with Rand.
"You're looking well," Nynaeve said evenly.
"So do you," Egwene didn't like it. Nynaeve's face was too cool, too complacent, too...neutral. Her anger would be truly terrific.
"I would like to speak to you. In private," Nynaeve added pointedly, glancing at the stairs.
Egwene reluctantly followed Nynaeve to the bedroom they had to share with Moiraine, dragging her feet. Nynaeve shut the door quietly behind her and said in a low voice, without any formalities or pretence of banter, "Why did you leave?"
Egwene licked dry lips. "I...I had to go, Nynaeve,"
"Why?" The word was sharp.
"I can channel," Egwene said, trying to impress the importance of it on Nynaeve with the sheer force of the words. "Nyaneve, I–can–channel - I can become an Aes Sedai,"
Nynaeve remained stony. "Is that so much better than a Wisdom?"
"Yes!" Egwene burst out.
Nynaeve looked up sharply, hand straining for her braid. It half raised before it went back to her lap. "I could have taught you," She mumbled half under her breath.
"I'm sorry, Nynaeve,"
"Was it her?"
"Moiraine," Egwene was shocked at the bitterness in her tone. "She already has you wearing your hair unbraided,"
"I don't understand,"
"Are you....are you...with her?" Nynaeve seemed to be forcing the words out, biting off every one.
"No, Nynaeve," Egwene tried to be as gentle as she could. The Wisdom was not as strong as she often appeared.
Nynaeve gazed silently, imploringly at Egwene. Egwene knew the look well. Silently, she wrapped her arms about the Wisdom, gently stroking Nynaeve's hair from her face, kissing the Wisdom soundly.
Nynaeve moaned slightly and let her mouth open, tugging Egwene insistently on top of her. Egwene began to undo Nynaeve's braid, running her fingers through it. "You're so much prettier with your hair down, Nynaeve,"
Had it been any other situation, Nynaeve would have reacted violently. But since Egwene was slowly undoing the other woman's dress, she let it slide, merely smiling grimly.
Nynaeve came quickly – almost embarrassingly so, with sweat prickling across her back, and quickly turned her attentions to Egwene to cover surprise.
Nynaeve fell asleep, head on Egwene's shoulder. They had slept in the same bed before, when Egwene had spent the night at the Wisdom's home.
Moiraine came in not too long afterwards, stopping silently, framed in the doorway at the scene that confronted her. Egwene felt her face colour, as the Aes Sedai half-raised an eyebrow.
Nynaeve stirred beside her.
An amused smiled quirked Moiraine's lips. "I did not realise you two where this way inclined,"
Nynaeve, staring groggily at her, crossed her arms protectively around herself. "Are you not yourself, Moiraine?" There was no formal 'Sedai'.
Moiraine's gaze suddenly hardened. "Excuse me?"
"Are you not this way inclined yourself?" Nynaeve repeated, a small smile gracing her lips. Egwene watched. "Don't you want her?"
Was the 'her' herself, Egwene wondered.
Moiraine's lips moved silently. "I cannot lie," She said simply after a moment.
"But you wont say you want Egwene?"
Hunger flashed so suddenly in Moiraine's eyes and was gone so quickly Egwene wondered if it had been there at all. She was silent.
"Do you want me?" Egwene asked softly.
Moiraine looked at her coolly. "Yes," She said finally. "Yes, I want you,"
"Take her," Nynaeve said suddenly.
Moiraine and Egwene looked around at her, surprised.
"Take her," Nynaeve repeated. "You have grown out of me, Egwene," She said the last sadly, as if she regretted it.
Egwene slid silently out of the bed beside Nynaeve to stand in front of Moiraine, naked skin feeling unusually warm. Moiraine looked at Egwene, silently asking for permission. Egwene nodded slightly and the shorter woman stepped closer, hesitantly, and pressed her lips against Egwene's. It was the type of kiss she expected Rand to give her before Moiraine's lips parted and she wrapped her arms about Egwene.
Egwene was surprised to her herself moan into Moiraine's mouth. She rarely moaned. Moiraine broke the kiss, gently placing kisses along Egwene's jaw bone, eventually trailing her lips down her neck. Egwene gasped, gripping Moiraine's shoulders as the shorter woman pressed her down on the bed opposite to the one Nynaeve still lay in with surprising strength.
She half turned her head in the direction of Nynaeve, who was watching and showed no intention of stopping. In the moment, Egwene did not care that much.
Moiraine kissed her breasts next, gently squeezing the nipples between her teeth, and trailing her lips down her body so her tongue flickered into her navel. Egwene moaned again.
She was surprised to hear another moan, in unison with her own. Nynaeve's, she realised distantly.
Moiraine's tongue entered her, swirling, forcing itself deep. Egwene's moans became louder, as she came, with the same embarrassing speed Nynaeve had earlier.
Looking over, she realised Nynaeve had came again as well. The Wisdom was panting, even as Moiraine leaned back and smiled at them both. The Aes Sedai had not even removed her dress.
"I think I'll be leaving," Nynaeve muttered softly, getting to her feet, pulling on her dress.
She touched Egwene's hair gently before she left, smiling sadly.
Egwene turned back to Moiraine, who smiled, running her tongue over her lower lip, showing off her teeth.
Egwene reached for the Aes Sedai.