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Lessons in saidin (Closed)


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OOC: Over the next few days, I'll be posting my asha'man's progression from newbie to full rank. This thread will be his lessons in saidin as a Soldier.





Lesson 1 - Embracing the source


“Try harder. You must reach out and seize saidin. It won’t come and climb into your lap like a coddled pet.” The Dedicated growled, his face inches from Rhys’ face. The new soldier breathed deeply and tried… as hard as he could.


He could feel saidin, just there… that glowing warmth, covered in a skim of nauseating taint, and yet he wanted it still… but every time he tried to touch it, he felt the fire and ice and avalanche of power moving and writhing… and he couldn’t grasp it. He’d never wrestled as a boy. Children in Far Madding were taught not to fight, unless they were to be guards, and then they learned to use proper tools to catch criminals and repel invaders… brawling simply wasn’t done.


“Keep trying, you mewling bag of suet.” Further growls. Yes, he was softer than most of the men here. Flabby even… but there was no need to insult him.


“I heard that you had to ask your wife for permission to come here… that she says you’re dead now… how does that feel, weakling?”


Rhys felt a seed of fiery anger in his heart, growing… the Dedicated was insulting him, his wife, and their entire society… he had no right. Just because people outside the city did things differently.


The Dedicated continued to barrage Rhys with insults about the women in his life, about where he came from, about his complete lack of skills in the things the Asha’man value… and that seed of fiery anger grew and grew, and then something snapped. The fire inside him matched the fire in saidin, and he was suddenly filled with the One Power… and he glared at the Dedicated, standing there looking smug.


A burst of fire flared up between them, singeing the Dedicated’s coat and hair. Rhys chuckled while the younger man danced around trying to put out the flames… he didn’t notice when he lost the Power, but now that he knew what it felt like, he would keep working until he could claim it at any time on his own.

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Lesson 2 - Spirit


After weeks of being in the Tower, the Dedicated had determined he had an affinity for weaves of Spirit, and so they were training him in the basics. Like most lessons in the Black Tower, this was a harsh one.


Rhys was normally able to seize the source half of the times he tried, but today’s lesson had begun with the Dedicated shielding him, cutting him off from that joy and power.


“A shield will cut a man off from the Power, holding him away from it, indefinitely… the person holding it can hold this weave as long as they are awake. If they need to leave, they can tie it off, knotting it, leaving you blocked until they remove it. Very skilled people can break through tied off shields, but that’s well beyond you or I.” This Dedicated was calm, dispassionate… almost like he didn’t care that he was there at all.


Rhys watched the weaves flow into a knot.


“Now, try to break through this knotted shield.” The Dedicated said as he sat in a chair and began to drink his tea.


“But you said this was beyond my skill?” Rhys asked in a confused tone. He gasped when a flow of Air struck him across the shoulders.


“Question a direct order again, and you will be given menial labor. Do as I said.”


Rhys closed his eyes, and began feeling the flows of the power that made up the weave that had been knotted between himself and the Power. He could feel them, like the tight fibers of a well used rope. Nothing he tried could make them budge. They simply were. He tried harder, working to force them to move. He scrabbled at them, like a rat trying to escape. He could feel tears leaking down his face and sweat down his back.


Eventually, he gave up.  He opened his eyes when he heard the Dedicated clapping.


“Good effort. You did nothing wrong, it’s just beyond you. In the future, we will try this again. And again. Until you are able to break a simple, tied off shield like that one. Then the weave will become more complex.”

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Lesson 3 - Water


He’d grown up and lived his life on an island in the center of a lake. In his city, it rained often. There were rivers that fed into the lake. He liked to swim in these things… why was weaving water so difficult?


He sat there staring at the bowl. It was a muggy day, and he was sweating… he wished they would let him keep a proper handkerchief, something with lace and made from silk of course… but no. Soldiers did not get lace. He wiped his brow with his sleeve, grimacing about the necessity.


His bowl was still empty. He was filled with the Power, and knew that if he wanted to, he could cause the bowl to explode in fire and shards. He could dissolve the clay of the bowl, turning it into sand and dust. He could create a tremor to knock it to the ground. He could do so many things… but not one of them would fill that bowl with water.


The weave was a simple one… but most men had some difficulty with water. He knew he wasn’t the only one struggling with this issue… but when the other Soldiers were a decade younger than he was, it felt like every failure was worse.


Humming a quiet tune, he completed the spherical weave and let it collapse into itself, hoping that this was the time it created the perfect knot and drew water from the air to fill his bowl… but it wasn’t. The weave fell apart, threads sliding like eels then dissipating into nothingness.


He tried for days. Weeks. At one point, he gave up for two weeks, and only began working at it again when Dedicated Tollian said the only water he could drink is water he collected from the Air himself. He was also forbidden wine or ale.


After two days of eating his meals dry, Rhys was angry. He grabbed the threads of water and forced them into place, not caring about the beauty or symmetry. This time, he didn’t allow the weave to collapse, he took hold the threads and pulled them taught into the knot he wanted… and it worked. The weave formed.


Rhys felt a tear trickle down his cheek as he watched his bowl slowly fill with water. When he picked it up to drink it, the water was cool and crisp.


He did it.

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Lesson 4 - Shields, again


Rhys stood across a small field from another Soldier, they met eyes and they both grabbed for the Source and began weaving as if their lives depended on it. One day, this might not be a test… and Rhys’ life might depend on these skills.


He felt the younger man seize the Source and Rhys scrambled to grab it before he could be cut off… but he failed. Rheingert had him shielded. The Dedicated gave the signal, and the other Soldier released Rhys. Another try, and another failure. A third effort, and this time he was able to seize the Power, but the other Soldier was able to distract him, and cut him off again.


On his fourth try, Rhys was able to shield the Arafellan youth. He grinned and waited for the Dedicate’s command to release… when it came, he let Rheingert go. The Dedicated directed the Arafellan to sit, and another youth took his place. Shen had been watching the duels until now.


Rhys moved to take a seat, but stopped at the whip crack command from the Dedicated. Rhys was to continue on. Shen knew how Rhys had managed to succeed against Rheingert, so that trick wouldn’t work against him… so Rhys used a different trick. He built up one weave of Spirit, made it thick and dangerous looking and feinted with it, moving it to cut off Shen’s access to the Power, but Shen blocked it with his own thick weave of spirit. He didn’t even notice the thinner, more tightly woven shield sliding in from behind. Rhys smiled to himself at his success and moved to sit down, and again the Dedicated ordered him to hold his place.


And it went on like that for hours. Rhys standing at the front fighting to shield the other soldiers before they shielded him. He failed sometimes, but still was not allowed to sit and let others take their turn. It wasn’t until the sun was setting and Rhys could barely grasp the Source that the Dedicated let him sit.


“Today, you have been pushed to your limits Rhys.” The Dedicated smiled grimly. “Learn this feeling, know it deep in your bones. There will come a time when you must fight until you’ve reached this point, and then keep fighting. Learn it well.”

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Lesson 5 - Hard Labor


The sun was high in the sky, and Rhys stood in the middle of the road, repeatedly seizing the Source, lifting stones from a pile, shaping them with Earth and Fire, then placing them into their precise location in the wall. Then he wove Fire and Earth in a different manner to join his stone to those on its sides.


Up with the stone, shear away the excess, bond it to its neighbors. The other Soldiers said this was much like training for any other job… repetitive exercise to teach your mind and muscles how to do a thing without thinking about it. Rhys had learned few physical tasks like this… he’d learned to ride a horse before, and taught hounds to hunt… but those things had been enjoyable. They had made him laugh… but shaping stone does not bring laughter or joy to Rhys.


Holding a stone in midair, he looked all around and saw no one watching, so he altered the shaping weave, and used it to begin carving the stone. The Power made shaping the stone so easy. The stone almost melted, flowing into the form he imagined in his mind. When he was done, the stone’s face bore a carving of the profile of Far Madding as seen from the East.


The next few stones he places were carved to look like buildings and places that he’d either been or wished to visit. The Stone of Tear, Caemlyn’s Inner City, Kinslayer’s Dagger, and Fal’Dara. There was no rhyme or reason to the order he placed them, just his fancy.


After a few hours of carving and placing stones, the Dedicated returned and looked over his work, testing the strength of the wall and sighing.


“Well, you did it right. The stones are sealed and jointed using the Power and won’t be budged without someone else blasting them apart using the Power. But these can’t be allowed to stay. You were told to build a plain wall, a simple wall. No one ordered you to make it pretty.” He sighed. “Now, you get to fix it and make it right.”


The Dedicated began weaving and Rhys felt his glowing satisfaction fall out the bottom of his stomach, as the other man began centering his weaves on each carving. One by one, they exploded.


Seizing the Power, Rhys began unsealing the broken blocks and adding them to the rubble piles. When all of the broken stones were removed, he began lifting new ones into place. This time, he carved them, but on the side he would seal to another stone. He left many hidden messages and beautiful carvings hidden away, where no one would ever seen them. It still made him feel better.

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