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The Mistress of Novices and the Dressmaker

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                Viviane Accylon exhaled sharply. She ran a hand through her long, flowing auburn hair, trying with all her might to smooth out a few loose strands. Her mane always seemed to act up whenever she was stressed. That just wouldn’t do if she were to be Aes Sedai one day. The Sisters of the White Tower were in complete control of their bodies and their emotions, that included their hair.


                Light! I still haven’t gotten used to the idea… Here I am all in white, and still, my brain denies it.


                A Novice of the White Tower, that was who Viviane Accylon was now. Her bone white dress covered her modestly, no man looking at her would guess she was almost a woman full-grown. In regular clothing, Viviane’s body would give that away in an instant, but her face remained soft and cherubic. Dressed as she was today, one could easily mistake her for a blossoming maiden, not a woman approaching her nineteenth Name Day.


                It was all so surreal, everything that had happened the last few days. Before Viviane came to Tar’Valon, she was living in Caemlyn and working out of her mother’s dress shop. Well, working wasn’t the right word exactly. Listlessly lying around would be a better term for what she did in her mother’s shop. No customer had entered their doors since before the Aiel War, the only reason they had remained open was because of her family’s vast wealth. That wealth was now dwindling.


                Viviane had initially planned on running away to Tear, but then they came. The Sisters. Mother had found out and insisted that Viviane should go out and get tested for her potential as a Channeler. They had fought long and hard, but in the end, mother won. Viviane went and was taken by the Sisters almost immediately. They left for Tar’Valon the next day.


                There were other girls that the Sisters had found in Camelyn, only a few, but Viviane hadn’t bothered to learn any of their names. According to one of the Sisters, a White whose name escaped Viv, there were fewer and fewer girls that had the aptitude to become a full Aes Sedai. By the Sister’s tone, Viv had assumed that most of the girls in their traveling group would be sent out of the Tower by year’s end.


                As much as Viviane distrusted the Aes Sedai, she desperately wanted to be one of them. She would not be sent from the Tower, not like her Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, and so many other Accylon women. No. Viviane would attain the ring and the shawl. To do that, however, she had to descend deeper into this viper’s nest. She exhaled again.


                 A large door loomed before Viviane like the Dark One himself. Behind the wooden behemoth sat Valeri Sedai, Mistress of Novices at the White Tower of Tar’Valon. Viviane had not spoken to many since arriving at the Tower, but she listened. Novices and Accepted had loose tounges, so it was not that difficult to discern the Mistress’s temperament., Grumpy. That was the only word she had heard used to describe Valeri Sedai.


                Well, kid, I guess it’s now or never.


                 Viviane threw her head back and straightened her spine, bringing her right hand up to the door. She rapped against the wood three times, lowered her hand, and waited for her journey to begin.

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Another knock at the door... Are you joking? Valeri sighs through her nose. A couple of days ago, she wished for more visitors, for some action that would allow her to have a break from her administrative work. And, Light, her wish was heard. Since then, she hasn't been able to hold her pen for more than a quarter of an hour.


"Please, come it," she eventually says with a loud and commanding voice. If the newcomer was an Aes Sedai she wouldn't have waited before entering. So this one is an Accepted, or a Novice, or worse... someone whose name is not in my books yet. Gotta have to play to the severe Mistress again... 


With a quick hand, Valeri smooths the skirts of her dress. She straightens her back and waits for the door to open wide enough so she can see who has interrupted her work.


A new initiate it is ... the Mistress of the Novices tilts her head on the right side as she focuses on the girl in front of her. She is dressed in white which means that she didn't come to her office immediately upon her arrival to the Tower. Does she want to make a good impression on Valeri? Is that the reason why she chose not to introduce herself in her traveling clothes?


The Saldean fights not to chew on her lower lip. The girl's face looks young but the rest of her body seems to be proof of the opposite. The look on her face however tells enough for the Mistress to understand that this new addition to the Tower actually wants to be here.


"Well? Who are you and what are you doing here?" Valeri asks with a neutral voice.

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                Viviane stepped through the door at Valeri Sedai’s command. The woman immediately cocked her head and gave Viv the up and down, apparently taking stock of her. The Aes Sedai’s eyes lingered on Viv’s dress. She knew she should have come directly to the Mistress of Novices, but she had to look presentable.


                As the daughter of a dressmaker, it would reflect poorly on Viviane and her family if she showed up in her traveling clothes, dirty and musty from a long time on the road. Besides. The dress that she wore was not from Tar Valon, it was made by her mother a long time ago and with great care. Mother always knew Viviane would go to the Tower, one day, so she had sewn her a Novice dress and an Accepted dress. Both dresses were much finer quality than the things the Sisters gave you, although you wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking at it. It was wool, but as soft as silk. That quality was the result of one of her Grandmother’s ‘tricks.’


                With an effort, Viviane was able to avoid clutching the sides of her dress as she felt Valeri Sedai’s penetrating gaze. It was whispered that Aes Sedai could read minds, standing there before Valeri, Viviane could understand why people thought that. Before forgetting her manners, Viviane dropped the finest curtsy she could muster, meekly ducking her head as she dipped.


                “Pardon, Valeri Sedai, I was told that you are the Mistress of Novices. I am Viviane Accylon, one of the girls brought back from Camelyn. Gwenfar Sedai tested me and determined that I am able to learn how to channel the One Power. She directed me here and told that me that I was to present myself to you so that I may be entered into the Book of Novices, if it pleases you, Valeri Sedai,” Viviane said as she rose from her curtsy. Her voice was full of determination, yet she tried to soften it. Displeasing the Mistress of Novices was not a smart way to begin one’s training at the Tower. Viviane's willful attitude had gotten her into trouble in the past. This was her one chance at a fresh start and she would not mess it up.


                I hope I do not have to walk on eggshells around this one…

Edited by Oddpositions
[[ooc: deleted a redundant line]]
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Viviane Accylon... Accylon,  the name rings a bell. It is familiar but not enough for Valeri to associate a face or faces with it. She swears to herself that she will not get to sleep before checking her books for the mention of the girls' mother or sister.


Viviane politely explains that she was tested by Gwenfar. Valeri nods. Gwenfar is not a friend of hers but a distant acquaintance. 


"If Gwenfar tested you and saw that you are able to channel, then I have no other choice but to enter your name in the Book of the Novices." Valeri makes a small break, allowing her words to sink in.


"But this is only the first of many steps that will lead you to the shawl." 


The Mistress of the Novices doesn't like to talk about failure. Some Novices will never become Accepted. Some will never get the flaming shawl ... some will be sent away, some will die. Should she mention these possible outcomes to the child standing in front of her? She takes a deep breath then decides against it. Such a show of determination needs to be rewarded - if hiding some part of the truth, even temporarily, can be counted as a reward.


"Do you have questions? Before I assign you a room?"


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                Viviane blinked.


                Why… she’s not grumpy at all! I do not know what all those others were whispering about… A little stressed maybe, but Valeri Sedai seems as pleasant as punch. I’m not sure how trustworthy she is, yet still, she is no monster.


                A warm smile crept across Viviane’s face, and all stress seemed to melt away. She felt utterly foolish for dreading this meeting. Oh, she had heard stories, Viviane knew that the road to Aes Sedai was a hard and arduous one. Having her first meeting with the Mistress of Novices go so smoothly, however, only served to brighten her outlook on the future. There were still doubts, she still wasn’t sure if she’d be able to ascend the ranks to Accepted, but this surely had to be a good omen.


                “Only one, Valeri Sedai,” Viviane spoke softly now, “On my way here, one of the White sisters mentioned it to me that there were fewer and fewer women able to attain the Ring and the Shawl. My own family has grown terribly weak in the power, as I am sure you have heard, but I had just assumed it was only the Accylon line… Is it true? And if so, how can that be? I had never questioned why it had happened to my family, but for that to be true for the whole world… I do not know much, but I just cannot believe that humans are losing the ability to touch the True Source. I may be overstepping my bounds, but is there nothing that can be done, Valeri Sedai?”


                Viviane still was not sure how she felt about the White Tower. Her Grandmother had insisted it was the Aes Sedai’s fault that the shop had fallen into a state of disrepair, but Mother felt the opposite (she and Grandmother never agreed on anything); if she did not, Viviane would not be here before Valeri Sedai. The only thing Viviane was sure of was the fact that the White Tower was the only place in the world where one could learn how to channel. She did not have to like the Tower to learn there, she did not have to like becoming Aes Sedai to relish in the embrace of the True Source. She needed the Tower whether she wanted to say that out loud or not.


                The Tower was Viviane’s home now unless she was sent away like every Accylon woman before her; although she was not loyal to the Tower. Yet. The harsher side of Camelyn had taught her that loyalty was not easy to come by and even harder to earn. If the Tower wanted her unwavering support, they had to prove to her first that they deserved it. In the meantime, Viviane would do everything in her power to learn. If her fate was to be exiled from the Tower then at least she could make the most of the time given to her.


                Light… I have to become Aes Sedai… That is the only way to help Mother. When I become Aes Sedai, I can close the shop and ensure that she is taken care of. Once I am Aes Sedai, she won’t have a care left in the world!


                Light, let it be so.

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Valeri raises an eyebrow. Things were getting out of control. She shouldn't talk about the Source with a Novice.  Who does that Child think she is?  She wonders.  By chance, her face doesn't show what passes through her mind.


"You are indeed overstepping your bounds. Once I write your name in my book you will become a Novice. And it is not even the place of a Novice to ask this kind of questions." 


The Mistress of the Novices passes her right hand through her dark hair as she waits for a reaction in Viviane, but the girl doesn't seem to be moved by her answer. So she decides to go on. "However an Accepted can carry on her own researches and inquire about any fact brought to her attention. I suggest you pay attention to anything your future teachers might say during their respective classes."


Valeri sees a twitch in Viviane's face and regrets not having the mind-riding powers some people think she has acquired throughout the years. 


"If that was your only question, then I'll send someone to show you your rooms". 


It is with a thread of Air that Valeri pulls on the bells that summons a Novice to her Office. Somehow, she wanted to show Viviane that she was not having difficulties to channel. 







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                Viviane opened her mouth to argue with Valeri, but then remembered where she was. One day Viviane would be able to ask whatever question she wished, until then, however


                “Of course, Valeri Sedai. My apologies. Please forget I asked. You won’t hear me asking that question of any Aes Sedai.” For now. “Please, do forgive me.”


                It dawned on Viviane that she did not really know what Novices were supposed to do. She knew that they came to the Tower to learn, but if they were not allowed to ask questions, then what was it that kept them occupied during their time here? Did Novices learn anything or were they merely glorified servants? She had indeed seen many Novices scurrying about the Tower but hadn’t paid them any mind at the time.


                Foolish of me. Know what you’re getting into before you volunteer! Fool girl.


                A bell sounded in the room, rung by unseen hands. Viviane jumped despite herself. She had seen women work with the One Power, including her Grandmother, however feeble those attempts were. Still, it was unsettling when one was not expecting phantoms bells to be tolled a few paces from their ear.


                “I have no other questions at the moment, Valeri Sedai. Thank you for taking the time to see me today,” Viviane said meekly. She dipped another curtsy to the Mistress of Novices and offered another warm smile. Viviane might now be a Novice, but the stress at the corners of Valeri’s eyes said that a smile would not be unwelcome.


                Hopefully, another Novice will show me to my room… Surely I can get some information out of someone that is of my own station… And if not, I’ll just have to wait for the opportunity. It’s not like I am going anywhere any time soon…

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OOC : you are now done with your 4 posts (YAY! <3)

I will make a last post with Valeri, using Ravenhild to get you to your room :biggrin:

It is not necessary to reply, since you are done with this Req - but if you want to keep forward with this part of your character's story, you are free to start another thread here in Retro (to which I'll reply using Ravenhild).

Again well done !!!!



Another knock at her door, this time from the Novice Valeri just summoned. It is a real ordeal for her not to roll her eyes. She knows who the newcomer is even if she hasn't open the door yet. It is Ravenhild Tharne. The girl who arrived the week before convinced that she was not a real channeler, that Amalexia the Sister who had tested her had been wrong about her ability to channel. Since then she has already made two escape attempts, which earned her enough chores to prevent her from having even one single minute of free time at least for the coming six months.


"Come in," Valeri eventually says.


The red haired girl pushes the door a tad too brusquely... but not enough to allow the Mistress of the Novices to scold her.


"What can I do for you, Valeri Sedai?"


"This is Viviane Accylon, another Novice who has just arrived. You are to show her to her room, which will be the one next to yours. When you are done, you will hurry back here. Is that understood?"


"Yes, Valeri Sedai," Ravenhild curtsies and invites Viviane to follow her out of the Mistress of the Novices office. Before the two of them pass the door, Valeri adds a few words for Viviane. She wishes her welcome in a way that seem to suggest that the next part of her life will be hard... very hard.

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