Having retired to your quarters after your return from the city, Maeve throws her coat over the back of a chair in the sitting room, then seats herself. “Well ... that was interesting,” she dryly says. So far, your conversation at the Den or even on the way home, has been thoroughly bland with regards to her meeting with Elisia, but plainly things have been left out. Until now, that is. “Pour me a glass of brandy, will you? I think I need something to clear my head with.”
Diar’s efforts to learn more about the discussion, having been largely rebuffed, have left him annoyed. He accepts your request with a silent grimace and pours two glasses, glad to have something else to occupy his mouth with and leave you to speak in your own time. But after he gives you your glass and seats himself, he cannot help but . . .
“Well? Are you planning to tell me at all?” he says, somewhat peevishly.
A slight arch of a slender brow at your tone, and Maeve can’t quite keep from smiling wryly. “Well, as a matter of fact ... yes. But I didn’t think it would be an appropriate conversation for a public venue,” she responds, her voice changing from mildly amused to rather more serious mid-sentence. “I suppose you could say that I am left with a bit of a . . . diplomatic dilemma,” she continues, then pauses again for a sip of her brandy. “And I am not too fond of diplomacy to start with.”
A sip of brandy to allow himself a moment’s exasperated celebration for convincing you to speak at last, and then Diar leans forward in his seat and prompts, “And . . . ? My dear, the suspense is killing me. What is it that the Queen wants of you?” He rests back in the chair, starting to relax, glass lifting up for another swallow when he frowns. “‘Diplomacy’? She hasn’t asked you to be an emissary to the court in Saldaea, I hope? We had intended to visit, but . . .”
“I rather wish that was it,” Maeve dryly notes, following another swallow of brandy. Not a good sign, that. “The diplomatic dilemma is of a different nature, however. Namely, who do I prefer to potentially annoy: Queen Elisia or the White Tower.” An irritated frown settles on her face then, revealing frustration until now kept mostly under wraps. “The Queen, who naturally entirely ignored the fact that she has—at best—pretended not to notice me before, wanted me to instruct her in Channeling. She never made it past Novice and her previous Aes Sedai advisor apparently didn’t teach her as much as she had hoped she would.” A snort, and she adds, “I suppose I should be glad she didn’t try to order me, but asking is bad enough, especially when suggesting that it could bring with it certain favours in return.”
A long silence as Diar digests that, and then he says, “Are you certain that she’s not wanting an emissary to Maradon?” A shake of his head, a sip of brandy, and he considers in more silence before at last he chuckles. “Light, but you do draw strange notice . . . Is she not receiving a new advisor? Why ask you if the other may provide what she wants?”
“Quite positive, my dear,” Maeve answers, a faint sigh escaping her. “That would have been rather easier to deal with.” Another sip of brandy, and she continues. “It appears she will indeed receive a new advisor fairly soon, but she seems to think—and I imagine she is not far off from the truth—that the advisor will not teach her all that much. Queen or not, she is still a failed Novice. No doubt the Tower had hoped she would complete her training, and may be holding it against her that she didn’t.”
Diar frowns at that, and takes another meditative sip of the brandy. Then he mutters, “Why can it never be anything easy? Ahh, well.” A last swallow and he sets the glass down on his seat’s arm and considers you. Expectation is clear in his gaze, and in the end he prompts, “Well? From the sounds of it, this is not something you are interested in, my dear. Is it because of the Tower? I imagine if they do not care to teach a failed Novice, they’d care even less that an expelled Accepted was teaching her.”
Idly tracing the rim of her glass with one slender finger, Maeve nods. “That is about right. It may not be quite as bad as looking for girls to teach and essentially founding a little miniature Tower, but it is bad enough.” Frowning, she thoughtfully shakes her head, continuing after a brief pause. “Another former Accepted ... well, it would be a little different, I think. They don’t forbid former students to interact, after all. But not only did she not get past Novice, she is also the one former student that the undoubtedly Tower keeps the closest track of. Once she has a new advisor, she will be able to do little without her knowledge.”
“Then I suppose the answer is no,” Diar responds promptly once you confirm that. “It would be nice enough to have the Queen as someone who owes you a favor, all considered. But what would the Tower do if they learned of the arrangement? I can guess that they would be less than pleasant.” A moment’s more thought, and then he shakes his head and takes up his glass once more. “You shall have to send a letter, declining the offer. Best not to leave the Queen waiting.”
Maeve, however, doesn’t look exactly like her mind is entirely made up. “Well ... it ought to be no, that is true,” she admits, sort of nodding to you. Soon enough, however, she adds, “But the Queen will hardly appreciate that. It may end up making things worse, you know.” Another sigh escapes her, and she pushes one hand through her hair, raking back loose wisps that insist on falling into her face. “If it wasn’t the Queen, it wouldn’t be so risky ... but on the other hand, if it wasn’t the Queen, I wouldn’t have to feel concerned about saying no either.”
“Well . . . If you appeal to the Queen on grounds of the safety of it all, and the fact that you’ve a family to care for . . . “
Diar’s voice trails off, and in the end he grimaces. “Not that would necessarily matter to her, I suppose, even though she’s a mother herself. The rulers of the world have their own prerogatives.” A swallow of brandy follows that.
“Yes, they rather do. Still ... I suppose that is what I will have to do,” agrees Maeve, her voice betraying her dislike of the situation. “Trust the Tower be a nuisance for me still. Not that I particularly like the Queen, but that they insist that every Channeler is subject to their rules will never cease to irritate me. If we’re unwanted by them, we should have the right to do as we please.” It has been quite some years since these feelings against the Tower have surfaced so strongly, giving an idea of how problematic she finds this particular situation.