Eye Color: Dark green
Hair Color: Chocolate brown
Place of Origin: Cairhien
“Zerelle…though I do not approve of your choice, I agree that leaving would be safer for you.” She stared up at the man who had acted as her father ever since she could remember and swallowed. The decision to leave Cairhien nobility had not been an easy one and the actual act would, no doubt, bring upon her a great many unpleasant consequences. But if even Andain agreed with her, than it was high time she was gone.
Youngest daughter of a minor House, Zerelle Doideainde had always been a disappointment to her mother, the iron-willed Lady Lacere. Lacere, like so many other nobles, had designs upon the throne, and in the meanwhile gained more power as a skilled player in Daes Dae’mar. Whether through triple-entendres or shady dealings, the High Seat of House Doideainde had steadily risen in power. In the process, she had ridden rough-shod over anyone’s complaints, using her daughters and sons as nothing more than pawns on a board.
Zerelle, in the meanwhile, had been raised as a very sheltered and protected young woman on the smallest estates of her family, with Andain, a Domani who had originally been hired as a mercenary but opted to remain as a guardsman of House Doideainde watching over her as if she were his own daughter. Despite practically breathing Daes Dae’mar, Zerelle had never become more than marginally skilled in Cairhien politics, not least because of her extreme timidity and generally weak will. She was a very intelligent young woman, with near perfect memory and recall, but for some reason the girl had always found it very difficult to disobey an order of any sort.
If that had not been enough to convince her that she should leave, Zerelle had also quickly learned that for some strange reason, it was quite easy to manipulate her emotionally. Indeed, her childhood had been a pure nightmare as all the cutting remarks the nobles shot back and forth amongst themselves seemed to hit her very personally and sent her into tears. Indeed, that had been the primary reason she was sent into seclusion.
Now, the girl stared up at the man she knew as her father and felt tears glistening in her eyes. Forsaking all the reserved propriety of her people, she stepped forward and wrapped her arms about his waist, face buried into his chest. Of all her life, she thought she would miss this man the most. And, judging by the very carefully restrained strength she felt in his return hug, Andain would miss his ‘little daughter’ as well. “You had best still be here when I finally return,” she whispered fiercely, then stepped back and twitched her dress unnecessarily. It was a simple dress, all things considered, well-made but even more severe than the normal dark fashions of Cairhien nobility. When her skirts were arranged to her satisfaction, she lifted her hair up out of her face and waited for him to place the cloak about her shoulders. Normally, the waist-length thick hair would have been pinned up in a chocolate tower of curls atop her head, but then normally she would not have been running away from her family. And the jewels that would have otherwise been glittering in her hair she had wrapped very carefully in the few belongings she was taking with her on her journey. “Remember everything I told you, my Lady Zerelle Doideainde,” he finally murmured gruffly and helped her mount the beautiful stallion that she had been training with for the past few months. Niende, she had called him, though there was nothing lost about the creature.
An ear flickered back in her direction, and Niende neighed softly, but thankfully refrained from frisking. She was not quite sure she could have controlled friskiness at that moment. She sniffled softly and glanced away from Andain, then shook her head and gazed back at him. “I will do my best. No pain-“
“-No gain,” he responded. “If your mother asks, last I have seen you, you were riding out towards the vineyards.”
With that last parting gift, Zerelle rode out of the stables in the morning twilight, and turned Niende’s head towards Tar Valon. Perhaps it was foolishness for her to go to Tar Valon and petition to become a trainee. But at least it had been entirely her decision.
Just before she rode out of sight, Zerelle glanced over one shoulder and raised a hand to the one man to whom she thought she could entrust her whole life. She thought he saluted her back, but it was difficult to see in the gloom. In the deep recesses of her mind, she remembered his timber voice speaking: ‘Never look back if you are leaving something you love. Looking back will make it hurt all the more.’ He was right, of course, and by the time she faced towards her decided path, tears coursed freely down her face.