Name: Saowynn Ardashir (SAY-oh-WIN ARE-dash-ear)
Title: Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah
Origin: Bandar Eban, Arad Doman
Eyes: dark brown, nearly black, large and luminous in her coppery face.
Hair: normally, she wears her black hair long (nearly to her waist) and unbound. Currently, it barely covers her neck and holds a loose wavy curl.
Dress: Wears traditional Domani dresses, usually in dark shades of green, violet, blue, red or black.
Channeling Strength: Average
Powers (strongest to weakest): Water, Spirit, Air, Fire, Earth
Talents: Cloud Dancing, minor Healing
Novice: 8 years
Accepted: 6 years
Weapons: knife/dagger, hand-to-hand fighting, slight-of-hand, her skills as a Domani woman
Bonded to: none. Previously bonded to Jacot Delomin (deceased), Macsen Decume (bond passed), and Raeyn (was released from his bond).
Temperment: is currently unknown. She has not been seen around Tar Valon for three years.
Don't give me that look. You don't know her like I know her. I'm not saying that she hasn't earned her reputation; she has, and it saddens me to see her so disdained by her "peers". If they only knew.
I first met Saowynn Ardashir years ago. I'd been at the White Tower less than six months when her Warder, Jacot Delomin, approached me near the end of the day. He was an imposing figure, a tall, dark Tairen with that sleek Gaidin grace. I had just finished an advanced sword lesson when I turned to find this hulk looming beside me. "Saowynn Sedai requests you join us for dinner." There was no hint of request in his demand and every indication that an attempt to turn the invitation aside would be met with pain. I bowed my acceptance. "I'll find you in an hour. Don't make me wait."
Of course, I was properly intimidated, and yet I wasn't scared. I didn't much care if Delomin beat the life out of me or not. Nor was I familiar with Saowynn at that time. I assumed her a Green, since not many sisters of other Ajahs are so blatant about interviewing a second Warder, but I could not put a face to her name. So I left, bathed, and put on the best clothes I had with me. They were rather stark and did little to make my appearance impressive. But they were cut in Shienaran fashion, proclaiming my homeland where my closely shorn hair did not.
To my surprise, my palms were damp and butterflies chased each other in my stomach. What had I come to Tar Valon for if not to become Gaidin? It was a chance to die with honor when my honor had been so stained, or so I believed at the time. Could I stand the thought of bonding a Green? I was still in mourning over my wife, who had died at the hands of the man with whom she cuckholded me. I didn't want a lover and I did not want to tie myself to a flipskirt interested in collecting men.
Jacot arrived, still hard and unsmiling, to escort me to his Aes Sedai's quarters. He eyed the sword at my hip but said nothing about it. I suspected he was amused by its presence, as though I might need it around his bondmate. It was all I could do to keep up with his long strides without running. I was lead up through the White Tower, catching glimpses of places I had never imagined to see before. Our arrival in the Green Halls was something of a shock. While the decor was elegant and tasteful, the atmosphere reminded me more of a raucous barracks instead of home to Aes Sedai. Laughter and singing rang out from doors, both open and closed, and there was a deep sense of camaraderie flowing through the hall. Jacot did not knock, rather opened the door and held it open for me. I entered, apprehensive and jittery.
Saowynn presented herself, and I bowed. She was stunning, I had to admit, though my heart and my loins were not stirred by her beauty. Her figure was everything a Domani was meant to be, and her nearly sheer green dress accentuated it perfectly. She had a face to match her body, with high cheekbones and delicate chin complimented by a full sensuous mouth. And, above all, her eyes, wide and almond shaped, floating like liquid pools of darkness beneath her arching brows. Those eyes were warm with curiosity that night, though they could turn cold and violent when Saowynn did. Only her nose, just large enough to not match the rest of her delicate features, kept her face from being perfect.
Her reaction to my general lack of one made a smile bloom across her lips. "Thank you, Master Decume."
I bowed again. "You summoned me, so do I obey, Aes Sedai."
At this response, she tilted her head back and laughed, a sound full of genuine happiness. "You mistake me, Macsen. That you would come when summoned was not a question. That you can see me as a person and not as someone to bed is where my thanks come from. Please," she gestured further into her rooms with a slender, coppery arm, "join us for dinner."
That dinner was the first meal in months I enjoyed, despite my difficulties with eating with sursa.
Saowynn was, as I learned her to always be, extremely frank. She explained to me that the Green Ajah was not always what people thought of it. Yes, they were the Battle Ajah, ready for Tarmon Gai'don and prepared to take on Shadowspawn at any moment. But, she added, they were also determined to hurt the Shadow in other ways. "Not all things of the Shadow are sworn to the Shadow," she said. I asked what she meant. "Just because someone is not Shadowsworn does not mean they cannot be evil. The Shadow touches us all in different ways, Macsen. And the subtilties of the Shadow is what I seek to end."
When I think back on it now, it's amazing to think of how young she was. Saowynn had to have been younger than my thirty-two years, practically a child for an Aes Sedai, The agelessness had not yet touched her face and there was a fervent light behind those luminous eyes of hers. She talked about her plans, mainly to aid women and children in abusive households. I believe it was at this point I asked why she'd not been a Blue instead of a Green. "The Blue Ajah doesn't see these victims as more than a project," she answered coldly, biting off each word with obvious bitterness. "They stir pots and never wait around to see how their changes affect those left behind that they meant to help."
So much that I didn't understand that night became clear after she bonded me a few months later. She and Jacot were more than just bondmates, but they were more than just lovers, as well. Theirs was a twisted relationship of love and pain. Saowynn had been removed from her home by a Blue sister when she was eleven. The foster home she was placed in was headed by a man who didn't hit her, but touched her as a child is not meant to be touched. No one believed her when she complained, and it formed a deep distrust within her for authority. It also explained what I found to be the greatest contradiction in her personality - she hated men that wanted her only for her body, and yet she dressed often more scandalously than the average Domani. She told me once that she did not know how to relate to men without lust, and any man who resisted it (such as I did when we first met) was someone she could truly trust.
Jacot was not much different. He, too, had been abused in many ways growing up in the servitude of the High Lord Corlionne's household. He spent years filled with impotent rage at his tormentors, until he snapped and killed one of the High Lord's sons when he was eighteen. He fled to the one place he thought might be safe - Tar Valon - and threw all that pent-up anger into weapon training. He loved Saowynn very deeply and was insanely protective of her, though I don't believe he ever became jealous of her or her trists with other men. They had their own bizarre relationship that, even though I hovered on the edge of it, I did not begin to understand. To me, love was always kind and tender; I didn't comprehend the need for pain and domination and humiliation. But they were profoundly happy with their love, and so I kept quiet and let them be.
The three of us were quite a formidible trio for four years. I grew to appreciate life again, thanks to the help of Saowynn and Jacot. We rarely spent time in Tar Valon, travelling to far villages in an effort to improve the quality of life for those in need. Although I was never as close to either of them as they were to each other, I was never made to feel like a third wheel. Saowynn and I even became occasional lovers, and while there was a kind of love between us, it was not that kind of love.
Then the accident happened. We were in Murandy, a village along the Andoran border, to help after the River Storn flooded. There were actually a pair of Yellows in Eleaniver, as well, doing what they could to encourage proper hygiene and curing a fever that was making its way through town. It was early summer, and it seemed everything in sight had a bloom on it. Saowynn was happy, as she often was whenever she was busy, and she seemed more at ease than she had in any of our four years together. I think she was settling into the idea that she really was an Aes Sedai, not some poor village girl who was to be pitied and despised.
It was a great irony that Jacot, who, like all Tairens, loved his horse, was killed by his own. Even a steady warhorse like Thunderer will buck when stung by a bee. Jace's neck broke the moment he landed. No one could've saved him even if Thunderer hadn't compounded the problem by stepping on his chest as well. Or so the Yellow sisters proclaimed. The sheer horror of his death overwhelmed Saowynn. Her keening pierced my heart, an echo of the pain I'd felt upon finding Rossana dead. She rent her clothing as she staggered to his body, knowing from her bond that he was gone. She tried Healing him; she failed. She tore at her hair. She clawed at her face. The Yellow sisters had to step in before she harmed herself irreparably. I took charge of Saowynn's limp form while Panjuneel Sedai arranged Jacot's body atop his horse and brought us all back to Tar Valon via a Gateway.
After Jacot's funeral and his memorial stone was placed in the Memory Garden, Saowynn barely left her rooms. I had to beg her to eat, to bathe, to change her clothing. She wanted what I had wanted before meeting her. She simply wanted to die. She wanted to die so badly that she insisted I find someone she could pass her bond on to. She trusted few within the Tower, having only a couple of friends within the Green Ajah. Her one friend outside the Ajah was a Gray named Alara, but the Cairhienin herself had recently found the last embrace herself. It was up to me to pick a woman I hardly knew when I had no wish to leave Saowynn's side. But she can be most persuasive when she chooses to be, and so I settled on a Kandori woman name Saffi Kiroyama, a Blue who, in some ways, reminded me greatly of Saowynn.
It wasn't even a week after I had been handed over to Saffi that Saowynn disappeared from Tar Valon. I feared greatly she'd gotten her wish to join Jacot in death for some time, when news arrived back that she'd been in Arad Doman. The tales we received were too outlandish to believe - hired assassins and debauched fetes and even an attempted coup of the throne. From there she traveled east, settling in Tear, then Illian and eventually Cairhien. The stories always seemed the same, and the Green Ajah did what they could to keep them under wraps. They sent several sisters out to retrieve Saowynn on a number of occasions, but she was always gone before they found her. I expected her to end up on the wrong end of a blade one day, and yet she seems to have the Dark One's own luck there.
Then, three years ago, Saowynn reappeared in Tar Valon. Her face was tired and, finally, ageless, but she was as stunning as ever. But she held everything in disdain, not caring when the Greens packed her off to a farm for three months or what was said about her in the confines of the White Tower. When she returned from the farm, Saowynn took up residence in a corner of the city, coming to the Tower only when needed. She taught classes on occasion, despite worries over her bad influence on the Novices and Accepted. Which, of course, was silly. Saowynn gave her students more respect than she did her fellow sisters, even though the girls gossiped about her more (though, in honesty, not by much). She has never, to my knowledge, made another visit to the training yards, preferring her solitude. Or, at least, solitude from the Tower, for we still hear tales of her exploits with the tavern roughs.
I still care for her, though she won't see me. And I understand. We're both in our fifties now, though I'm the only one who looks older. She sees me and remembers what was and what she can never have again in this turn of the Wheel. I don't begrudge her her pain or her wild needs. I only wish she would set it aside one day and remember she is still alive, and I'm sorry that I cannot repay that debt to her.
Important threads: Best Served Cold