Disclaimer- The Wot world and characters all belong to Robert Jordan; I do not own nor claim to own any of it.
A Day with Elnore
El'Nynaeve ti al'Meara Mandragoran woke one morning to sunshine streaming into the bedroom, the curtains to the balcony fluttering in a cool breeze. She sat up straight in bed. Lan was not beside her. His emotions were dim through the Warder Bond – Nynaeve guessed he was probably on the other side of Malkier. She frowned. He hadn't told her he was going anywhere. So where was he?
She swung her legs over the side of their bed. The cream-colored sheets were tangled with her legs, and just as she yanked them free, a piece of paper on her bedside table caught her eye. She picked it up.
I have gone hunting with Maric. Flinn is with us.
We should be back around dinnertime.
Nynaeve frowned again. He hadn't said anything about going hunting. Maric had been pestering him for days to take him hunting, though. She looked back at the note. Flinn was with them. That would explain why they were so far away when they had only left that morning. The visiting Asha'Man had Skimmed them to who knows where.
Nynaeve stood up, placed the note back on her bedside table, and walked over to her large wardrobe. Rummaging through her dresses, she picked one out that was blue and green with white flowers embroidered all along the neckline, hem of the skirt, and edges of the sleeves. In the center of each flower was a tiny pearl. She slipped it on, relishing the smooth fabric sliding over her skin. Sitting down at her vanity table, she painted the red ki'sain on her forehead, then undid her braid and began to brush her hair.
She always braided her hair at night to keep it from getting snarled. The only time she ever left it down at night was when Lan commanded her to. Whenever he did that, they would always end up . . .
Nynaeve pushed the thought from her head. She was not going to think about that right now. Nynaeve debated calling her maid in to do her hair, but decided not to. A braid would do just fine, today, and she could jerk at it whenever she wanted since Lan wasn't around. It took just a minute to do, and then Nynaeve was striding briskly down the corridor away from the rooms she and Lan shared.
When she was almost at the end of it, she turned and walked into the room on her left. A small girl was sitting on the floor, thoroughly engrossed in changing a doll's dress.
"Elnore," Nynaeve said gently.
The child looked up, and immediately a smile blossomed onto her face as she got up, running to meet Nynaeve. Nynaeve kneeled down and embraced her.
"Mommy!" Elnore said happily. "I'm glad you're awake now." All of a sudden a frown crept across her features. "Daddy left with Maric. I wanted to go but he told me it was just gonna be just-him-and-Maric time today."
Nynaeve pursed her lips thoughtfully. "He told you that, did he? Hmmm. Well we are going to have a just-Mommy-and-Elnore time today. What do you think?"
The child's eyes sparkled as she smiled excitedly. "Really?"
"Yes, really," replied Nynaeve with a smile. It was impossible not to smile whenever she saw Lan's eyes sparkle like that, and Elnore had inherited exact replicas.
"Oh goody!" squealed Elnore. "Can we make cookies?"
Nynaeve's smile faltered for a moment. After all, burned food was something she could not Heal, and she had a long history of kitchen mishaps.
"Of course, sweetie, if you want to. Would you like a boat ride on the lake, or a ride on your pony?"
"Yes, yes!" Elnore exclaimed, clapping her hands and jumping up and down.
"Okay, then. Let's go down and eat breakfast first, then we can start our day."
Nynaeve rose, and taking her daughter's hand, began walking to the kitchens. Elnore swung her arm back and forth, singing, "Mommy and me day, Mommy and me day . . ."
It was a beautiful morning, Nynaeve saw through the windows they passed. The sky was a cloudless blue and sun shone with all the radiance of a Malkieri summer. Malkier being so far north made winters freezing cold, but the summers were just perfect. Not too hot at all.
The two finally reached the kitchens. The cook and two serving girls were already there. Upon seeing her, they both curtsied deeply and murmured, "el'Nynaeve." Then they smiled and greeted Elnore normally.
Even though they were the Prince and Princess of Malkier, Maric and Elnore were for the most part treated like any other child. It was something Sharina Melloy had set up. "Until they can act like royalty, they should not be treated like royalty," she had said firmly. Lan and Nynaeve had agreed with her, as usual. Having raised several children of her own before becoming a novice had made Sharina full of helpful tips that always seemed to work.
"We'll have some breakfast rolls and capana juice," Nynaeve told them.
One of the serving girls curtsied and got what she requested. Within seconds, Nynaeve was sitting at a small table with Elnore, eating soft, fluffy breakfast rolls cooked to perfection and drinking juice made from sweet red Malkieri capana berries.
As soon as they were finished, Elnore jumped up and cried out, "Let's go on a pony ride!"
Nynaeve assented, and very soon they were riding away from a palace on two horses; Nynaeve's own Loversknot and Elnore's Dolly. Nynaeve had always thought it rather funny that Elnore had named her horse Dolly, but the name fitted perfectly. The horse was as mellow and acceptant as any of Elnore's dolls were of her treatment, not that they had ever had a choice about anything.
A small hamper was attached to Loversknot's saddle. Nynaeve had let Elnore "supervise" the packing while she got the horses saddled, and she was already wondering what Elnore had managed to get put in there. The child was dreadfully devious sometimes, and Nynaeve loved her for it.
They rode through the trees and over the fields, admiring their beautiful home. Despite herself, Nynaeve found herself repeating the names and uses of every plant and shrub she recognized while Elnore stopped every couple of minutes to pick up some pretty rock or pick a flower.
At noon, they stopped for lunch at the top of a hill right at the edge of the trees. They sat in comfortable shade and had a gorgeous view of the lake, their palace home, and the city next to it.
Nynaeve opened the hamper and began to unload it. Sandwiches, made from wild boar meat and cheese were packed alongside two waterskins full of cold, crisp water and pears. Further unloading revealed a small cache of cookies.
"Is it okay, Mommy?" asked Elnore anxiously. Nynaeve looked up and smiled at her daughter.
"It's wonderful, sweetheart. You could start packing lunches for Daddy when he has to go places." Elnore smiled wide with pleasure.
They ate their sandwiches slowly, admiring the view. The lake looked especially nice. Nynaeve picked up her plump pear and held it for a moment. It was smooth and cold from sitting next to the waterskins in the hamper. All of a sudden, something hit Nynaeve's eye, and the next moment, half her face was sopping wet.
Elnore, holding her pear with one bite in it, shrieked with laughter. Right at the same moment, amusement flowed richly through the Warder Bond.
Nynaeve looked around, startled. "Lan?" she called out. Elnore was still laughing so hard that she was oblivious to the world. Lan was nowhere to be seen. According to the Bond, he was still on the other side of Malkier. And yet, the stream of amusement was so strong that he could only be laughing – laughing his head off.
It must have been a coincidence, Nynaeve thought a little uncertainly. He couldn't have known.
She dismissed the thought form her head, wetted some napkins with the water, and began wiping the pear juice off her face. Of course he couldn't have known – he was on the other side of the country for goodness' sake! And yet, he did seem to read her mind sometimes. Nynaeve looked at Elnore. One look was enough to send the child off into giggles again, and Nynaeve couldn't help laughing herself.
After they finished eating, they rode back to the palace. They spent the rest of the afternoon on a boat ride on the lake and making cookies in the kitchens. Nynaeve made sure that a maid stayed in the kitchen to watch and supervise – she didn't want to ruin it for Elnore with her horrible cooking skills.
By the end of the day, both Elnore and Nynaeve were tired and ready for bed. Nynaeve was looking forward to sleeping. Egwene had given her a message while she was sleeping about a week ago telling her to meet her in Tel'aran'rhiod tonight. She had sounded tired. Nynaeve understood completely. Being Queen of Malkier was hard enough; she didn't even want to think about what it would be like to be the Amyrlin Seat of the White Tower. Poor Egwene – she would never again be the innocent, laughing village girl whose chief aspiration in life was to braid her hair.
Elnore and Nynaeve watched the sun set, then Nynaeve tucked Elnore into bed. She emptied Elnore's dress pockets of the many rocks and now wilted flowers she had collected onto her vanity table, then sat down on the end of her daughter's bed.
"Mommy?" asked Elnore tiredly.
"When will Daddy be home?"
"I don't know, sweetheart. He was supposed to be back already. Did you have a nice day today?"
"Yes. I want to do it again sometime. When Daddy gets home will you tell him to come in?"
"Yes I will. Go to sleep now, okay?" Nynaeve got up, kissed Elnore's forehead, and headed for the doorway.
"G'night, Mommy, I love you," called a sleepy voice from behind her.
Nynaeve paused in the doorway to look back.
Elnore's eyes were already closed. She looked like a little angel with her wispy curls poking out every which way.
"I love you too, darling," whispered Nynaeve back at her. With a last fond look at her daughter, Nynaeve walked down the hall to her bedroom.
Inside, she stripped down to her shift and sat on her bed. Taking a pen and a piece of paper, she wrote a note to Lan and left it on her bedside table. There was a silver goblet with capana juice sitting there as well. Nynaeve had sent for it from the kitchens – there was a light sleeping herb in it. She opened the one drawer on her table and extracted the twisted stone ring that would enable her to enter the World of Dreams. It was one of the many copies Elayne had made. Egwene had allowed her to keep it to stay in contact with the White Tower. She tied the leather cord that held it around her neck and drank the juice.
Lying down on the bed, she shifted a little to make herself comfortable, and then waited to fall asleep. She thought of Lan. Where was he? Why was he taking so long? Just as she started coming up with reasons why he wasn't home . . .
. . . she was standing at the edge of the lake, wearing the dress she had been wearing all day. She took a moment to smile fondly around at her home, then closed her eyes and focused on Emond's Field.
She opened her eyes to find herself standing inside the house she had lived in when she was Wisdom. Faile had told her at Tar'mon Gaidon that Daise Congar was the Wisdom now. Nynaeve privately felt that Daise would never be as good a Wisdom as she herself had been, but at least she wasn't a Coplin.
Nynaeve strode out of the house and onto the village green. A woman was standing there, looking down at the river. She wore a simple red gown with blue trim. Yellow flowers on a trailing vine were embroidered all along the hem of the skirt. Nynaeve walked silently until she was standing right behind her, then said, "Egwene."
The woman turned and smiled softly. "Hello, Nynaeve." She sounded tired, and she looked stressed.
On an impulse, Nynaeve embraced her. Egwene stiffened for a moment, then returned the hug as strongly as Nynaeve was hugging her.
They just stood there like that for a couple moments, then Nynaeve asked, "What was it you wanted to tell me?"
Egwene pulled away and looked her full in the eyes for a couple seconds, then dropped her eyes and blushed. She blushed! The Amyrlin Seat, one of the most powerful Aes Sedai there was, blushed. Nynaeve's eyes widened.
"My goodness, Egwene, what news do you have?"
Egwene looked back at her and smiled shyly. "Nynaeve . . . I'm pregnant."
There was a shocked silence, then Nynaeve gasped. "You're serious? Really? I'm so happy for you, Egwene! It's Gawyn, isn't it?"
Egwene looked indignant. "Well of course its Gawyn, who else would it be? I'm not one to cheat on my husband, Nynaeve."
"Oh sorry, I keep forgetting that you married him," said Nynaeve, abashed. Then, worriedly, she added, "But Egwene, you're the Amyrlin. What happens when you're farther along?"
"Gawyn and I have already figured that out. He will stay with me at all times, and there are several Aes Sedai in the Tower that have my complete trust. Siuan, Leane, and Bodewhin are the primary ones. Bodewhin was raised to the shawl only two weeks ago."
Nynaeve smiled. "Tell her congratulations for me."
Egwene nodded. "I will."
After a pause, Nynaeve said, "Well, it sounds to me like you have everything planned out well. Does everybody know?"
Egwene shook her head. "Just you and Gawyn so far. I meet Elayne here in a couple days to tell her.I wanted you to be the one of the first ones to know since . . . you know . . . we spent so much of our lives together."
Nynaeve smiled. "Thank you, and congratulations, Egwene."
Egwene looked around. "I was looking around a bit before you got here. Everything has changed so much. Emond's Field is nothing like it used to be. Even we've changed. Who would've thought that a simple village girl would become the Amyrlin Seat, or a Wisdom the Queen of Malkier?"
"Changes come with time, Egwene," said Nynaeve softly. "They just do. If you had the choice, would you change things back to the way they were before Moiraine came to Emond's Field?"
Egwene paused, then said finally, "No."
She smiled at Nynaeve. "I'd better go. I'm glad I could talk to you, though. It's so nice to be just Egwene again, and not always, the strict, impartial Amyrlin. Tell Lan my good news, okay?"
Nynaeve said she would, and after good-byes were exchanged, Egwene disappeared.
Lan quietly opened the door to his bedroom and shut it behind him. He had just finished putting an exhausted Maric to bed. The little boy had put all his energy into hunting with his father, and now he was completely spent.
Lan walked to the foot of the bed and gazed down at his sleeping wife. The sheets had been covering her, but she had kicked them off and half of them were on the floor. She was slightly sweaty, which Lan attributed to the ring hanging on a cord around her neck. She always got that way whenever she used it. Her dark hair was in a braid that was partially undone from all her tossing and turning. A note in her hand was sitting on her table underneath an empty silver goblet. Lan strode over and picked it up.
Do not wake me up.
I am meeting Egwene in Tel'aran'rhiod.
When I leave, I will wake up.
Did you say goodnight to Elnore?
Lan smiled. Elnore had been asleep when he had looked in on her. Crossing the room, he undressed and got into his side of the bed, waiting for Nynaeve to wake up.
Nynaeve just stood there for a moment after Egwene left. She looked around. Things had changed. Emond's Field was huge, now. And Perrin was Lord of the Two Rivers, if a little unwilling one. Nynaeve thought that if he wanted, he could easily become at least a minor House of Andor. His house was certainly big enough. He didn't want to, but Faile would probably persuade him eventually. She looked down at the dream ter'angreal ring, then grabbed it and yanked. The knot in the cord came undone, and Emond's Field faded . . .
. . . and she was lying in her bed staring up at the ceiling. She sat up, and all of a sudden realized that the bundle of emotions in her head that was Lan was very strong. She turned, and looked straight into his blue eyes. He just sat there and looked at her. She turned and returned the ring to the drawer, and got up to go put on a clean shift.
Lan finally spoke. "What did Egwene say?"
Nynaeve finished changing, thenwalked backover to the bed and lay down beside him. "Egwene is pregnant."
Lan's eyes widened. "Really? That will be difficult for her."
"Yes, but I think she will enjoy it in the long run. Why did you leave this morning? You never told me you were going."
"Flinn is leaving tomorrow. Maric asked if we could go before he left, and Flinn didn't mind. It all worked out, and you were already asleep."
"Oh." Nynaeve had gone to bed early last night because of a headache. She looked at her husband. "What was so funny?"
"Around noon I felt so much amusement through the Bond that you could only have been laughing."
"Oh, that. Maric decided he wanted to hunt deer from up in a tree. He climbed one and lay down on a branch until a deer came. When he shot at it, the reaction from the gun pitched him off the tree and into a river. The look on his face was priceless."
Nynaeve laughed, but then her face contorted with worry. "Is he alright, is he sick?" Even in the summertime, all the bodies of water in Malkier were very cold.
"He's fine," Lan reassured her. "Flinn dried him off when he got out."
"Oh good." After a pause, she added, "I missed you today."
He smiled. "I missed you as well, but I doubt you would have liked what we were doing."
Nynaeve sniffed. "Elnore and I had a fun day as well."
"Oh? Did she ask want to make something in the kitchen?"
Nynaeve flushed, crossed her arms, and turned away from him.
He chuckled. "Come now, I didn't mean to come home and fight with you. They were sitting out on the counter when we got back."
Nynaeve was about to give Elnore the credit for making them, but cracked off a huge yawn instead. She turned over again. "Good night, Lan."
She felt fingers pulling at her hair, and suddenly she knew what he was doing. In seconds, her braid was gone.
"Not yet, Nynaeve. Stay awake for a while."
She grinned and rolled over into his arms. She may have been away from Lan all day long, but she had all night to make it up.
A/N- I sure don't end stories very well. Like? Hate? Don't hurt me for it! I wanted to write about the life Nynaeve might have had after Tar'mon Gaidon. If I get enough positive reviews, I may be coerced into writing some companion pieces to this one.