Eye Color: Blue-Green
Hair Color: Blonde
Place of Origin: Kings Crossing
Character’s name: Cairma Vishnu [kAR-maa vEE-sh-new] Age: Currently - 31; Main Timline - 32 Place of Origin: Kings Crossing, Andor Siblings: Jain Vishnu, Adain Vishnu, Daigh Vishnu, Haimon Vishnu (Deceased), Tamair Vishnu (Deceased) Mother of Jamie Vishnu (Deceased ?) Formerly Bonded to Jaydena McKanthur of the Green Ajah
I have not had an easy life. Some may think that I might be exaggerating but in truth I doubt they thought far enough into it to understand the reality of it all. A sad tragedy that held poems of epic proportions, because to them it only could be just a story. When I was younger I wish I could believe that it was a story, but in the end I was only running from the one thing that made me who I was. Me.
Before the Yards
There was a hanted look to her eyes as she breathed in slowly. Cairma never liked telling this story, and had only told it once. "Born 968 NE in Kings Crossing, NorthWest of Andor to Karin Vishnu & Lord Jard al’Anubi of the Noble Line (Low Ranking - Andor). I was unplanned and an unwanted child, grew up with 5 older brothers and a mother who ran The Royal and whored for easy money. Although I did not play with my brothers, nor did they have any love for me, they were still protective enough of of me to keep me relatively safe from everyone else. Even if that meant hiding me away in a secluded part of the woods when I was not doing chores around the house. By age eight I started to learn how to use a sword from Jain. It wasn’t intricate learning, like that of warders, but basic survival techniques so that I would be able to defend myself from wild animals or bad men that travelled through.
"I told you that I left on a caravan of a peddler about 5 days out of Kings Crossing. I had to barter my traveling expenses. Too young to for the mans particular tastes, and of the wrong gender, he allowed me to stay as long as I stayed out of his way, kept his horses kept and used traps to catch food on nights when he was too occupied to do so. The days of traveling were long and tiring, but my own silence kept him talking. He enjoyed talking especially about his sales and better deals that he cheated one person or another. After a while I started to ask him questions about what he carried. I had no reason not to learn or any idea what to do if i ever left that Caravan, as long as I wasn't in King Crossing. At first he taught me how to barter and play dice. I had very poor luck at it." Cairma chuckled softly at fond memories in the Common Room. "Still do. I then started to help him keep track of what he kept in his Cart, and discovered a variety of dried herbs. Some spices for cooking. But most were poisons."
"I had learned at a far too young age not to trust anyone and that anything can be used as leverage. I took to climbing trees to escape my brothers. I took to helping the neighbors to escape my mother. I kept a knife under my pillow that was always sharpened to keep out shadows. I was too young to understand why I did it, but even as I traveled with that Peddler, I didn't feel safe." Her pause for collection brought a few memories, a few nights of being hungry. Of the way the man watched her. Her hair was jaggedly cut and of odd colouring and she barely had the development of a feminine body for one her age. Once in a while when he didn't know she was watching him, she could see the look. The same look from home, from her mother, brothers.. "So I listened well when he told me a little of them. I did not take any, it would have been too easy for him to notice, but i moved them farther from the foods and spices claiming that I would hate to mistake a spice for one of the other bottles, and moved it where it would make more noise to retrieve. He told me of Forkroot and a few others that he carried and I didn't want to be under some draught. I wasn't stupid." She paused as a sliver of anger rose in her voice. How many times had she been dismissed as a stupid girl. But even then she had believed she was, and only fear caused her to make the mistakes she made.
"We reached Andor. I was not planning to part ways there, but we did. Too young to bother with the Taverns, I borrowed a few poisons and a dagger that looked like it would fetch a good coin as well as a few spices and offered the spices in payment for one night in a real bed with a warm bath. Travel was hard and all I wanted was a night in a place I could feel safe if even for a moment and even with a dagger under my pillow. I had no plan, just a night away. I woke the next morning after the first sleep of actual rest I had in months. The peddler was gone. I had nothing to my name but the dagger and the poisons that I wasn't entirely sure I pocketed in the first place. It made sense at the time.
"I remember feeling utterly lost. I was not used to a city that was so big with so many people. Everyone was so cruel and turned me away. I was useless in the kitchens as I was too nervous and tripped over everything. I broke more dishes in that first few days than would pay for decent meals for a month. ...Time just became such a blur as I tried desperately to find a place to even rest. The dagger was stolen by a thief while I slept on night."
"The traveller was Calpene, after his home peninsula in Tanchico. He was both a smuggler and a poisoner, has a filthy temper on him. He’s still alive as far as I know, but that’s neither here nor there. His poisons were far more potant than what he claimed them to be. He told basics of how to mix and where to put in, but nothing more than a 'scoop of this', or a 'pinch of that'."
"Maybe if he taught me better... I'm not really sure what had started it. Maybe it had been the few run-ins with the thieves guild in Andor, or other of their kind that did not take to much liking of me. I took up space in their streets, coined from their pockets. I never knew that asking for a coins would cause a ripple in a system so cleverly placed. I got into many scraps that were unfair in numbers. I refused to play their rules any more than them allowing me into their fold. I wasn't Andoran, I didn't know the streets, and I was too old for their games, and too young to be of any standing."
"It had been a taste, and I didn't want anything to do with it, and I was getting desperate. I didn't fear death, but it never occured to me to take my own life. It was just simply not what one thought about. Or at least I didn't.”
“Instead I took one of the small pouches of poison and followed a man. I only wanted to have him sleep so I wouldn't have to harm him. Lift a few coins to barter a bit of food so I could leave Andor." Her eyes shut. "I used too much. It was horrifying to watch. He didn't scream, but the noises he made." Breathe. "I watched what I did and hated myself for it. But fear drove me enough to take what I needed. And I left Andor that night."
"It was in Four Kings that I tried again." Following the road as she left through Whitebridge, avoiding the cities as much as she could. Mostly she remembered being hungry. "It had been weeks since I had a warm meal, one that I stole from a farm house window. My traps were only so good, and I lacked too many tools to pick up anything that was larger than a squirrel, or maybe a rabbit if I was lucky. ..I wanted anything better than what I had. Anything would have done."
Cairma's voice changed then as it grew a little more in it's strength. Reliving a little of what Aran spoke of, it didn't feel that she had it so bad. She never knew any of her victims. "He had been a cheery fellow and thought that I was 'cute'. Said that I reminded him of his daughter that passed away recently. I told him that I could not stay, why I don't even remember. But he gave me that same look and I knew I could not trust him. I stayed weary of him, but yet I followed him into his home. The bath was glorious, and the food tasted like the Light itself. I don't know if the story of his daughter was true or not, but he also gave me some clothes. He told stories, many of them, at a drop of the hat as long as he had a willing audience." The man had been arrogant and talked much about himself. Praising her for her silence and how wonderful she was to being such a silent child. Memories brought with it the unease of the evening. "After one last look, he excused himself from the table to relieve himself, or so he said. I moved quickly and put the poison in his wine. I used a little less this time, after all the effect it had the first time, it was far too quick, and I didn't think that I needed to rush." Her voice grew hollow. "I could never have been so wrong."
"There is one moment in a person's life that could essentially break them, be it their minds or their hearts. You have become immune to the touch of death. It does not effect you the way it may others. Taking a life does not bother you." She paused in her little side story as her mind echoed the evening. "The meal had ended than after retiring to the Library he showed me how to play stones, also a game I was never very good at. I was playing the waiting game, a little nervous. But nothing happened. An hour passed and it had grown fairly late at this point. He offered me a room for the night. Not thinking he would be awake for much longer, I agreed. I had thought i had given him a sedative, from what my memory had served me, in hopes that once he was asleep he would not wake for a very long time."
"He brought me down the long corridor and paused in front of a door with a soft sigh. He sighed and muttered, 'not here'. I asked him why, but he only smiled. Opening the next door he lit the lamps revealing a very beautiful room. But one that struck me as too beautiful." Dark rich silks, crimsons and golds. "Too nervous of him to take too much notice of the room and all that was in it, I entered and he left me there only to return moments later in a robe." She shut her eyes for a moment as the memories of screams echoed in her head. "I don't know what happened after her placed his hands on me. I remember the robe being torn, my clothes were torn, and then him dead on the floor." He voice was merely a whisper. "I remember screaming. A lot of screaming, and then his blood on my hands. I was only 12."
In the Yards
"It took me four years to pull myself through the Tower gates. Determined to leave my past behind me, I tried to be happy with a supportive family that would be proud of their daughter. A Tower Gaurd, Gaidin to an Aes Sedai. Back where I come from those are just silly stories that one told over a campfire while drinking down last seasons mead. So I became a Tower Trainee. Brililin, Llugh, Raekal, and Hawkin were of many of my mentors. All left for various reasons. I was ‘bounced’ around a lot until I was assigned under Daemon’s care, and flourished. Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against them leaving, being there myself. But it was still tough to adjust to after everything. But I stuck it through, aspiring the Ren'Shai and eventually made it to Tower Guard by the time I was 18. For two years I faded in the Yard, practicing as I always did and decided that it was better than anywhere else and I was satisfied with it. Not happy, but satisfied.
"21, and I was assigned my first mentee. Coraman. I doubt I could ever feel more useless and completely out of my league. Clumsy I stumbled through the first parts of teaching another forms that I should have had drilled into me. Should. She survived most of it... I think.
"Then I met him. The very bane and joy of my existance. Most think it would be my future Bonded that would be the joy of my life, but if one ever met Aran ... He would change your life forever. First it started with a drink, and a game. Gambling really wasn't my thing but I later learned that I saved myself a lot of pestering by simply agreeing with him. Although the short man was almost made shorter after he decided to wake me after drinkign all night. Chased him right through the yard wearing only a soaked white shirt and a 6 foot sword." A twinkle in her eyes joined with the smile on her lips. "We kind of became inseperable after that. Of course, had I known what I got into with Aran I probably would not have gone to the tavern in the first place. Although I got to know Rosheen because of him and for that perhaps I could forgive him. Mind, I wonder if he ever forgave me."
"... But there was one thing I'll admit. Although he was unconventional in all his dealings, but he still got the job done. Aran always got the job done."
Shaking her head, Cairma paused as she took a sip of the glass of water in front of her. "I had the worst temper. I really did. I was always angry and, like Aran, he totally took advantage of it. As did many others. Pranks were common in my room and everyone knew was that so long as I didn't catch them, they were safe. I nearly killed a trainee with my temper, my sword barely missing him and not on a lack of trying on my part. Trainee was fast, Rien I think was his name. Or was it Maldrin?" She paused in thought. "I don't remember. What really changed the day was when I tried to kill myself.
"Yes.. it wasn't anything that had happened to me in the past. It was the simple idea, the possibility, that I could harm someone who was innocent was what drove me to the bridges into Tar Valon. It was fate that brought me there that night for as I stood there bemoaning my predicament an Aes Sedai contemplated sharing my fate with the river."
"We saved each others lives. Not too long after Jaydena and I bonded. We were good friends, Jaydena and I, and I do miss her. Greatly."
"Life then just became living. Aran and Rosheen made the Tower bearable, and with Lyssa and Ursana, Braxton, Jaz and Sahra it was never boring. Really... I doubt a day went by without something insane happened, some secret revealled or group prank occured. Toss in Fior, Vera Sedai, Jorality, Calen and his peacock coat. But not all of it was fun and games. There were serious times, trips that lead Daemon and I to literally slaughter men and women that followed the Shadow. Take the bad with the good, and live happy." A small smile of mirth to her lips, "but the Wheel weaves as it wills, as Maegan always said."
"When one grows older, life becomes more serious. I hated that I fell in love. A bonded warder did not fall in love, our lives are not ours but that of our Aes Sedai. Even more... One did not get pregnant. One might think it was taboo for an Aes Sedai to get 'stuffed full of baby', try being a female warder. Problem was, I knew Aran's past and to protect our son I chose to keep that lineage secret." Moments of silence passed as Cairma felt the melancholic sigh. "We were never the same after that. By the time we could be a family he was gone, dead in that last battle of revengence against those that hunted and slaughtered his family."
After the Yards
"I was done. After Aran's death a deep part of me died with him. I didn't have the heart to stay without his laughter haunting every blessed memory in the yard. My bond to Jaydena released, I left the Yard to raise our son. I returned to Kings Crossing and chose to live under the same roof that I grew up in. Why Kings Crossing, well, I think my story is getting long enough as it is without me getting into more of my family. With one a Mayor of my hometown, one a Captain in the Band and another a Commander of the Children of the Light and me a Grandmaster of the White Tower; my family is just some White's wet dream to try and understand."
"Aran left an impressively large hole in not just my heart but my soul. Everything that I laughed at, everything that brought this life of mine some measure of worth I had found in him. Not a day goes by without me wishing that instead of being the coward, that I had proclaimed my heart and my life to him. I knew he wanted it, I really did. Family was everything to him. But family scared me, scarred me so very deep that I kept it all at arms length. I've kept our son at arms length. It pains me that my own son cannot fill what I lost in Aran."
"I jumped back in the game. Hiring myself as a mercenary for a while. I even met up with the Band -refusing to contact the one other warrior in my family. I could not, nor ever will be part of the Children of the Light. At least the Creator had some decency to re-unite me with the last of my living relatives. But even Jain, the one brother that I actually got along best with (should fighting siblings ever get along) could not even dent that pain of what I lost."
"You think that it's easy to just jump back in the saddle. To pick up everything and move to the next stage in life. But you never knew Aran. He changed everything he touched. He changed me, but now that he is gone I've come to realize that all I do have left is the Tower. The Yard, my sword, and the only life I've known ... its time to try this again. A little different this time. I may be young by many standards, but at 31, I feel much older than anyone should have the right to be. I just hope Jaydena will forgive me for not being ready to bond again." Cairma paused, setting the glass on the table in front of her. "I don't know if I could ever let anyone that close again, really. But that doesn't mean that I am not still me."