Eye Color: Green
Hair Color: Auburn
Place of Origin: Jehannah, Ghealdan
Light, what she wouldn't give for a breeze. Surrounded by pines and leatherleafs, Morgan moved from form to form, her brow furrowed in concentration. Sweat covered her body, poured out of every crevice. She had to be better. She had to make her father, General of the Queen's Death Guard, proud. She hadn't heard from him in so long and hadn't spoken to him in longer. He would be sorry he had left her behind, she told herself. Maybe then he would teach her how to use a sword. Yes. He only needed to see how much she had improved. Then he would teach her, then he wouldn't leave her behind.
As the Ghealdan sun set her muscles were throbbing, screaming for her to call it a night. Weariness threatened to turn her limbs to jelly. Her eyes burning from the sweat and dirt that flowed freely down her face. But she had to improve by the time her father came home. She had to be the best. Barley thought otherwise.
A soft whicker from her spirited friend broke her attention and her oak staff cracked her on the back of her head. Grunting, she fell to the ground and rolled on to her back. Supressing tears that greeted her every night since her father's departure, she breathed heavily and wondered where he was, if he was okay. She was so scared that something terrible had happened. "Oh Father, please come home," she whispered into the silence of the small clearing. Light, but her hand ached for his.
Letting out a heavy sigh, she got up and called Barley over. Strapping her staff onto her back, she pulled herself up into the saddle, clenching her teeth at the muscles that resisted movement. She would be very sore in the morning. Barley took of at a fast trot, anxious to be back with his bowl of oats and they sprung out of the forest with the sun still setting.
Hair blowing wildly in the sudden wind, Morgan's eyes sensed a movement to her right, a glitter of metal in the fiery light. Blocking the sun out of her eyes, she looked towards the distraction, excitedly hoping against hope that her father had returned. Her heart skipped a beat. Reining Barley in hard, she dropped to the ground, ignoring Barley's complaint. Eyes wide and full of terrified disbelief, she looked upon a mass of viscious and dirty-looking men who bore an assortment of banners. There wasn't a speck of Ghealdanin Red.
The sudden gong of alarm bells bellowing from within the city brought Morgan to her feet. Leaving Barley where he stood, she raced towards the city on foot, too afraid of being seen on horseback. Her muscles throbbed, her legs fighting her every step of the way. A creek opened up before her and she leaped at the last second. With a grunt she hit the bank on the other side, her head striking a rock. As the world around her dimmed, she felt the cold sting of defeat, the pang of failure striking her heart before everything went black. "I'm sorry Papa."
Images flashed through her mind, painful memories long subdued bursting from a scarred heart. Waking with a start, Morgan brushed a stray curl out of her teary eyes. Staring at the scribbles she had been making in her journal before dosing off, she swallowed hard and wiped a stray tear from her cheek. Dabbing her pen in ink once more, she finished the entry she had started.
"I have often asked who I am, asked why I came here instead of rushing into the city to avenge the slaughter my family. Jima told me time and time again that their deaths cannot be put on my shoulders and that I must learn to let them go. He said I must be at peace. I want to believe him, really I do. But no matter how many times I say it, or matter how many times I hear it, their deaths plague me even now."
Rain fell from the dark, stormy sky, pouring out on the world below. Leading Barley carefully through the wet, rocky terrain of the Misty Mountains, Morgan pulled her sodden cloak tightly around her. Teeth chattering, she looked around her for the hundredth time that day, wondering if she was even in the right part of the mountains. She wasn't sure when she had decided to visit the fabled Ogier, preservers of life and knowledge. When she had mentioned it to Jaydena, saying it was just a thought, she had been surprised that Jaydena had no problem. It had taken a while to make the preparations, time to escape her Me'Arearth training, time to find someone to train Kara. Now, two months after deciding that the retreat was necessary before bonding Jaydena, Morgan found herself trying not to slip and break her fool neck.
"I'm looking for Stedding Madan," she said with a weak smile. She had been living off of the wilderness and the occasional farmer for three weeks, the last few days spent trying to find the road to the stedding. The look of disbelief on the old farmer's face was the same as all the others. She barely needed his reply to know that he, and everyone else, believed that Ogier were only gleeman's tales. She murmured a thank you and ruffled the little girl's hair that was looking at her as she too were a gleeman's tale.
When she had finally found a man who knew of a road that lead into a haunted forest in the mountains, she had kissed the man's cheek and hugged his wife, ignoring their confused looks as she jumped into the saddle and spurred Barley on. Now, she cursed herself for not asking around more. The tale of a haunted forest seemed right, considering the farmer's description of trees that touched the clouds and giants that ate all intruders. Now she would settle for an ordinary forest with a woodcutter's shack and a chair in front of a fire. That, of course, was too much to ask for.
Lightning flashed overhead, thunder shaking her to the bone. Barley seemed less effected than Morgan. She had thought that training him as a warhorse was a fool thing to do at the time, but now she was beginning to see the benefits. The horse's muzzle rubbed her shoulder, and she patted it gently. "We'll find it soon, boy. Don't you fret. Light, but it's cold." Seeing an opening in a rock wall, she considered stopping for the night, not caring that there were hours of daylight left, but she took one step in that direction, gasping as a sudden calm washed over her. Shaking her head, she told herself she was imagining things, but for all her effort to explain it the rain really was lighter suddenly, her muscles more relaxed, the terrain softer. Then it dawned on her. She had found the stedding at last.
With a laugh, she looked around with wide eyes, throwing back her sodden hood. Stepping through a wall of dense brush, she gasped again, tears forming in her eyes. Everywhere she looked, there was life. Flowers grew here when in all the outside world all was brown. Water trickled through gardens bursting with color, flowers of all shapes and sizes. The air itself seemed content, at peace. "Thank the Light," she whispered. "I fear Jaydena is going to have to force me to leave this place."
Red curls hung limply in her eyes, sweat and dirt clinging to her as she led Barley towards the White City. It seemed larger, its beauty calling to her heart. How long had it been since she had seen the White Walls of Tar Valon? How long since she had stolen into the night with a few coins and a change of clothes? Patting Barley, she sighed deeply, glad to be home.
Wiping her curls out of her face, Morgan laughed softly, knew she had been gone too long. Barley whickered and frisked, catching smells of the home he too had come to love. She laughed richly, throwing her head back. "I'm glad one of us is excited. Of course, you don't have to worry about Jaydena Sedai, now do you?" She smiled, closing her eyes and trying her best to think of the words to say when she confronted her promised. Light, she would be lucky if she had a chance to speak. She laughed softly again, too happy to worry about anything. Of course, she hoped the woman hadn't forgotten about her...
Rikko popped his head out of his saddle-bag home and meowed loudly, ready for lunch, no doubt. Scratching his head, Morgan hummed softly and led Barley through the gates of her home. "We'll eat soon, I promise." Rikko bit her hand playfully before meowing again. "Patience is a virtue, my love. We must be patient," she teased. The wooden ring on her right hand brought a sad smile to her lips. She missed Jima already.
"It's sung wood," he rumbled, his ears wilting as he opened his massive hand to reveal the precious gift. "It is from a dogwood tree, your favorite." Tears welled up in the Ogier's tea-cup eyes, his lip trembling. Morgan clung to him, crying softly into his waist. "Now, don't go getting hasty and making promises you can't keep Morgan Trelend. I will come and see you when I can." He put his hand on her head gently, ran his huge fingers through her hair. "Always remember that just like the trees, your heart always needs tending. Without love, we are nothing. You are a very good person Morgan, a very strong person. I will never forget you."
It had been a month and a half since she had left Stedding Madan, four weeks since she had stopped crying every time she saw a dogwood. Now she was home. Now she began the rest of her life. Dimly she remembered faces of friends, remembered old pains. She was a different woman now, stronger in many ways. Old wounds had healed, the memory of them all but gone. Before her was the beginning of a new life, a life of purpose. Light send she hadn't been gone too long.