The 3rd Age Life of Miraseia Breakwater
Born in Taren Ferry around 900 NE, the youngest daughter of the ferryman, Oren Breakwater. Miraseia was a whimsical child, usually wandered off somewhere she was not supposed to be, doing something she was not supposed to be doing. She was not lazy, just a dreamer. It’s a surprise you have not drowned, her mother always said, for indeed she was always dipping her feet in the swirling Tarendrelle waters and muddying up the hem of her skirts. The townsfolk marked her suspiciously for the bookish way she was always scribbling things down. Sometimes there was such a vacancy to her gaze they accused her of being touched in the head. Sweet and useless, they said. Better marry her off to a man in the lower villages, and quickly about it too!
She was tolerated well enough, considered by others as being simple-minded; an insult Mira never seemed to mind, if she ever even noticed. At least until the first time someone caught a good glimpse of the drawings in her book, and she was hauled before the Women’s Circle to explain herself. Mira had no answers, of course. Her hands trembled when she handed the drawings over, mostly because she had never truly contemplated what they were or why she was compelled to draw them.
She was ostracised after that. Sometimes the Breakwaters even found the Dragon Fang scrawled on the side of their house.
For there was no way Mira should have known the things she knew.
The White Tower
The Wisdom marched her the whole way up the steps to the White Tower, grip tight upon Mira’s arm like she expected the girl would otherwise disappear like seafoam before she could palm her off to the Sisters. It had been voted on by the Village Council and the Women’s Circle, and rare indeed were the times the two met in agreement. Mira was to be ceded to the judgement of the Aes Sedai.
Before she knew it, she was signing her name in a giant ledger, giving over all her meagre belongings, and swapping her clothes for a white dress. Mira was slow to realise what it meant. Light knew she had been anticipating far worse a fate.
She was a distracted novice, always in trouble for daydreaming and tardiness to her lessons. Embracing saidar came to her surprisingly easily though; she had no problems surrendering to its light, eager to let the comfort of its touch flood her like the river of her home. But she was far too enamoured of its siren call. Mira lost count of how many times she was warned against burning out.
After her expulsion from home, she was careful to hide her oddities from the Sisters. The Aes Sedai who had walked her to the Mistress of Novices’s office had only sniffed when the Wisdom had tried to explain why Mira was here, and claimed she already knew exactly why the girl was here. No one asked Mira about it, so it seemed an obvious thing to conceal.
But refusing the outlet grew physically painful for her the longer she persisted. Sometimes she scratched her hands to ribbons trying to keep it in. Her fingers were always bloody, the nails picked to stubs. She barely slept.
Darkfriend, she heard the other novices whisper. Always watching, always writing.
Indeed, she always was. She drew in the margins of her study books whenever she could, but it grew harder and harder to hide. She no longer paid any attention to the things she was compelled to draw, just the ways in which she could bury evidence of it. After a prank gone wrong, in which her book was stolen, Mira lashed out at the perpetrator with uncontrolled flows of saidar, desperately afraid of what would happen if the Tower expelled her too.
As a result of the weave, the thieving novice apparently forgot her own name for a week.
Afterwards Mira was placed into the care of Broekk Sedai, a Sitter for the White Ajah who specialised in healing the most troublesome novices. None yet knew dreamers had returned to the world, and in any case, Mira never remembered dreaming. There was no clear connection to that other life, and so she was diagnosed with an ailment of an obsessive mind.
Now the whispers in the Novice Tower claimed Mira was simply mad. Broekk Sedai was kind and patient, but all Mira understood from their sessions was that she was different, and it made her afraid.
So she learned to hide. She learned to suppress.
She learned to survive.
Mira spent twelve long years in white, and a further eight as an Accepted. When she was finally raised to the shawl at thirty-four, she chose the White Ajah.
Aes Sedai of the White Ajah
Mira lived more than thirty uneventful years as an Aes Sedai of the White Ajah. She never left Tar Valon, and sometimes not even her own White Halls for months or years at a time. She did not involve herself in politics or worldly matters. Her studies consumed her life, focused on sicknesses of the mind. She wrote papers and occasionally taught, but her interests were esoteric and mostly only garnered interest from those among her own Ajah.
Her name translates to “vacant eyes” in the Old Tongue, and it had never been more true than now. She was known for her detached and unemotional manner, if she was known at all. For even amongst her Ajah Sisters Mira seemed to slip easily from memory.
In reality she had perfected the weave she had first used as a novice, developing a simple and subtle twist she employed to smooth her existence, erasing the bits she did not want others to witness. Routine and control dictated her life. She discovered she could dilute the need to draw into an abstract scratching of words that usually quelled the urge, if she was diligent. Much of her effort went into inhibiting signs of her own illness, and searching for a cure.
As a result her life was a lonely one.
Bound Until the End of Time
“The Dark One and all the Forsaken are bound in Shayol Ghul, bound by the Creator at the moment of Creation, bound until the end of time.”
Things changed drastically for her in the mid 70s. Prior to this, Mira’s dreamings had always been minor things, suppressed with routine, but now they began to consume her in a way she could no longer control. Blood and fire and battle spilled from her fingertips, no matter how hard she tried to deny the urges. Not just armies of the Dark, but dedicated cities of Shadow, the Borderlands themselves slowly eroded to nothing. A man’s cruel face centred many of the images. Mira was sickened by her own depravity. She did not yet realise it was prescience.
A dark time followed, during which the outpouring did not stop, and Mira locked herself away entirely. For the first time she began to fear what her drawings might mean. She’d poured countless decades into ignorance and control. The revelation that it might have been for nothing nearly broke her.
By now Mira was profoundly lonely. She feared she really was mad. The Light knew it seemed better than the alternative.
She was contemplating a drastic solution, staring plaintively out from a Tower balcony, when the young White Sister Rosene Solyan first stumbled across her. She had one of Miraseia Sedai’s essays in hand and a demand of questions on her lips. The friendship bloomed from nowhere; the first Mira had ever really experienced in her already significant years of life.
Over the following months they discussed theology and philosophy at great length. The nature of the Wheel, and the futility of the souls trapped within it. The writings themselves were not Elan Morin Tedronai’s, but had clearly been influenced by fragments of his published works. In any other Halls but the White it would have been considered heretical to even discuss. But discuss it they did. It transpired that Rosene’s thesis was on the signatures of a troubled mind; specifically the markers that might indicate a person could be tempted to the Shadow. Her particular area of expertise was the Forsaken themselves.
Bound until the end of time. It shivered Mira through.
Their friendship grew deeper over a number of years, and Mira experienced some measure of peace such as she had never known prior. Then the pressure of her curse shattered once more like glass in her skull. This time Mira saw Tar Valon burning, and Trollocs clawing at the walls of the White Tower itself, led by a dread General all in black. The images flowed like a river from reluctant fingers, all the more violent for the way she tried to keep it locked inside.
When Rosene found her dishevelled in her rooms, bent over the screwed up parchment and sobbing, Mira should have taken the memory immediately away. But she did not.
“I might help you, Sister, if you would but let me,” Rosene finally said.
Mira trusted her.
Aes Sedai of the Black Ajah
Mira never craved power for her own ends. Rather, she sought a place to belong, and she found it in an unlikely way. Rosene revealed to her that somewhere out in the world the Dragon had been born, and the Last Battle would come within their own lifetimes. In return Mira hesitantly shared that she believed she had seen the Dark One’s victory, all those years ago, when they had first met. The pact they made was solemn.
They believed it meant this Turning of the Wheel would be the last.
In the years to come Mira sometimes wondered if Rosene had calculated that she would agree to make the Black Oaths — if recruitment had been the very reason she had sought Mira out that night, moments before her thread in the Pattern would have unravelled to its end. Or perhaps worse, that Mira had been little more than the test of a hypothesis.
She wondered, too, what it meant about the colour of her own soul, how easily she adjusted to the change.
But she loved her Sister deeply, and whatever existential sacrifices she made in pursuit of that connection, Mira never regretted them. It was not so difficult to love a monster. To become one in turn.
The third woman in their Black Ajah heart never seemed quite able to recall exactly who Mira was. In that small way Mira continued to keep them safe, though Rosene never knew that facet of Mira’s talent. They agreed to hold what they suspected of prophecy only to themselves, since for now it could not be proven. Fears lingered in Mira’s heart; that it was her own madness pushing them further down this dangerous path, not destiny. But Rosene was resolute, and Mira followed.
We Are Monsters
(to be continued)
Years passed in which Mira lived content in Rosene’s shadow.
In this life Mira often never discovers she is a dreamer.
For much of her early life, Dreaming is a forgotten talent, and the world she inhabits in Tel’aran’rhiod a quiet and lonely one. Due to this being the first rebirth since her tethering to the Wheel, she is confused, afraid, and adrift: fears that seep through as anxiety into her waking life. She is overcome by the notion that she is trapped or lost. She is overcome by fear.
Unnerved by the great city of Tar Valon in which she begins to wake, and uncertain and wary of the ghosts drifting through its grand streets, in her youth she gravitates towards the more familiar countryside of home. She spends lots of time following the banks of the Tarendrelle, and sheltering in the comfort of Eldrene’s Veil. While her waking life slips into the clutches of the Shadow, her dream world remains untouched, though she is ruthless in her own protections and efforts to stay hidden — terrified, though she does not know why.
At least until she is finally discovered.
The woman who finds her is as beautiful as a rising sun, and she feels strangely like she recognises her. The familiarity is so welcome after decades of isolation that she literally throws herself into her saviour’s arms. Surprised, the woman strokes her wild hair, winding her fingers amongst the auburn strands, grip just a little tight.
The woman is kind and gives her a name — “Shae” — though she laughs when she says it. She confirms what Shae already knew; that she must remain hidden and secret.
And, that there is work to do.
Shae’s loyalty to her new Mistress is consummate, and the subservience feels entirely natural. She does whatever she is bidden to do, when she is bidden to do it, and uses her skills to hide herself away from the other denizens of the dream. As the years flow past and the waking world continues to change, there are more people to avoid now.
Thus this is the only life in which her appearance in the dream differs from her waking self.
Shae stalks sleepers and breaks minds and kills when she’s told to. She is a dangerous scourge, feared by the wolves, whom on occasion her Mistress pits her against for her own amusement. Watching the depravity always seems to make her mistress happy. Shae never minds.
Note: “Shae” is the Old Tongue for dog.
There is only one secret Shae keeps from her Mistress, and that is the woman whose star she watches in the Gap. She in fact watches many dreams, but this one is different. It fills her with a desire to protect, so she does, shielding the woman from any who might wish her harm. Only once has she ever entered the woman’s dreaming world, but there was no recognition, and nothing happened. Shae cannot explain the connection, only that it is important to her.
When her Mistress inevitably finds out about the secret, she is incandescently angry, and for the first time Shae’s loyalty is tested. The punishment is cruel. With her Mistress’s long years of tutorage and Shae’s own uncanny perceptions and quickness to learn, she has grown stronger. Stronger, she realises, than the woman to whom she is beholden.
Shae does not rebel. But the star she loves is taken away.
The grief overwhelms. When her Mistress disappears too, Shae crawls back into hiding. She is alone and afraid and angry. The abandonment stings, but worse is the thread of suspicion that curls sour in her gut.
Then, she discovers someone else. Another star, liquid dark. He dreams often of blood and glory. The connection is not the same, but Shae is filled with desperation and loneliness. In this world in which she must hide he is all she has.
So she hides him too; better than before, and so completely that none, not even her Mistress, might ever find him.