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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

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                Viviane fidgeted in her seat. Today she was to learn what it meant to be Red Ajah. Jagen Sedai had not yet arrived to the classroom, so Viviane had little reserve in exhibiting her anxiousness. She’d have to bottle it up soon enough. Right when those doors swung open, the mock Aes Sedai serenity would slide over Viv’s face, as best as she could manage.

 

                The Reds made her nervous. They made every girl nervous… Well, not every girl. There were certainly a few Novices and Accepted that Viviane had encountered, girls that aspired to be Red above all else. People often said that Blues were passionate, but Viviane found the same was true for the Reds. At least it was true for the women that aspired to Red.

 

                From what Viv had seen, the Sisters of the Red were strong and commanding. It was often said those women were fiercely loyal as well. To the Tower and to their Ajah. Viviane had given an ear to those girls that aspired to Red, but it was hard when a few had sounded almost fanatical.

 

                Today was not a day for fanatisicm, however. Jagen Sedai was to be educating Viviane on the matter and she knew from personal experience that Jagen was a no nonsense type of woman. She would not spit blind faith at Viviane, no more than she would say falsehoods. Viviane had high hopes for today.

 

                The Red Ajah was not one that Viv had aspired to. She had wanted to be Blue, and the rivalry between the two Ajahs was no secret. That was why she was anxious. There was no way that Jagen could know Viv wanted to be Blue. She had not approached any Blue Sisters yet… She was saving them for last. She had hoped none of the other Sisters knew which Ajah she had been pining for, that might change what they told her or how they spoke to her.

 

                Viviane held great respect for every Sister that had taken the time to educate her, Jagen Sedai included. She had taught Viviane her first lessons on Saidar. It was a wonderful class. That was the first day she sensed Saidar. No woman of the White Tower forgot that moment.

 

                It had been a bit of a shock that Jagen Sedai had insisted upon a class to explain her Ajah, especially considering that Viviane was the only girl in attendance. Well, that wasn’t really weird, but the silence did nothing for her nerves. Lavinya Sedai had educated Viviane on the Grey a few weeks before, but she had made Viviane do chores while she spoke.

 

                Viviane hoped Jagen wouldn’t make her scrub the floor to learn what it meant to be a Red.

 

                But if she does, I’ll do it with a smile on my face.

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OOC: I took some creative liberties with some information from your bio; I hope you like it!

*~*:ajahwhite_by_drowelfmorwen-dc43fss:*~*


Jagen believed strongly that taking an active interest in initiates was for the good of the White Tower, and it was one reason why she so willingly taught classes. She also wanted to get a feel for every girl who made it to being an Accepted. It was why she insisted on teaching, especially Accepted.

As far as Viviane went, she was at least the second woman with the last name Accylon in the Tower that she could recall. It was over a hundred years ago when Jagen met the last; their name was once very well known in Andor for being part of the Queen's court. As she entered the classroom, clad in a high-necked, dark crimson dress, shawl on her shoulders, she recalled the last Accylon woman, who looked very much like the Accepted standing before her today, at least that she could recall. But she had been sent away from the Tower after only a few years, and caused some trouble for the Tower besides. It was why Jagen remembered her name and face--she personally had been part of the embassy sent out to reign the woman in. The family did not fare well after that.

She watched Viviane give the proper curtsy, but she did not enter the room fully. "Come, child. We will be holding this lesson somewhere much more comfortable." She swept out into the hallway, forcing the Accepted to catch up with her, but her pace was not quick. Jagen lead the girl up spiraling stairs until they reached the Ajah quarters. Upon opening the beautifully carved wooden door that lead to the Red's quarters, the tiles became white with the red Flame of Tar Valon on each one. The sister went left and opened another door to reveal a large sitting room, where sisters sometimes gathered by the dozens or few, and usually to receive sisters from other Ajahs or Accepted. It was not unusual to have Accepted visit a sister's personal quarters for a lesson, but Jagen and some others felt the sitting room was more appropriate. Thus they each could take a seat in a plush, red velvet sitting chair. The wood paneling here was dark, but many stand lamps were giving off light, giving it all a very warm feeling.

 

"As I am sure you know, Viviane, the Red Ajah is the largest in the White Tower. To begin our lesson, we will discuss why this is and the Reds' main purpose for forming into one of the seven permanent Ajah groups."

 

A servant brought them both tea; Jagen had called for it before arriving to the classroom. "When the White Tower was being built, the world was still trying to recover itself from the Breaking. Many groups of Aes Sedai helped the world by gentling these men on the spot; this was before the White Tower was fully formed, of course. Unfortunately during this time, the Ogier decided to prolong the Breaking by offering sanctuary to male channelers at the stedding--where, if you do not know already, channelers are blocked from touching the Source. By the time the official seven Ajahs formed in the second century after the Breaking, there were still many men around the world who had to be found and gentled for the safety of the new Ten Nations. Thus it became the duty of the Red Ajah to focus mainly on this purpose. Since it was the most important task of Aes Sedai at the time--and still is today, of course--the Red has consistently remained the largest of the Ajahs."

 

"Just imagine a world where any day, while you're about your business, a man will come and he will go mad, killing those you know--neighbors, and even family. Perhaps you, yes? So you can see why we, the Reds must be vigilant in seeking out any and all information that could lead to a male channeler. Yet, there is no reason to gentle them on the spot any more. They are given a trial here, but we will talk about that more later."

She picked up the tea, without anything added to it; she liked the flavor of the tea alone. "Now to address a particular rumor--that Reds do not like men. This is not true for us as a whole. Like any Ajah we are made up of many diverse women with diverse opinions. Knowing any man can start channeling, and knowing some may have already, but try not to reveal it--this is why we tend to keep an emotional distance from men. Think of what it would be like to find out a friend or someone close can channel and must be gentled for everyone's good. Being close, it could compromise one's integrity and logical judgement, possibly impairing a task which must be carried out. Because of this, we do tend to attract women who may already have an unfavorable view of men, but if anything this only makes it easier to do our assigned mission."

 

After a few sips of tea, she went on. "Now, it is your time to talk, yes? Tell me of some of your impressions of our Ajah to begin with. Secondly, tell me what you think would or could happen if a male channeler is allowed to run lose. Can you name any examples besides False Dragons?"

Edited by Jagen Sedai

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OOC: Oh, I just loved that, Jagen! You are the best <3 Thanks for putting that personal touch on it.

 

                Without warning, the Red Sister, Jagen Sedai, strode into the classroom. She did not enter fully, which made Viviane confused for a moment. The Red was of comparable height to Viviane. Her dark blue eyes weighing. Viviane knew the woman must hail from Tarabon, considering that Jagen Sedai wore her hair in those many braids typically associated with the country. She had seen her around the Tower wearing one of those filmy veils as well. She had a pretty, doll-like face and her hair was almost a match for Viviane’s fiery mane.

 

                Viviane had barely been able to finish her curtsy before the Red Sister had told Viviane that their lesson was to be elsewhere. Without protest, Viviane trotted after Jagen Sedai. She took the Accepted up flights of stairs, only pausing for a moment at a large set of wooden doors. Behind the doors, all of the décor was red or dark shades of varnished wood. Some would call it severe. Viviane didn’t think so. She had always preferred deeper shades of color, not to mention this color scheme made everything look regal. A few other Red sisters were scurrying about, further down the hall. Viv did not need to be told that they were now in the Red Ajah’s quarters. This was the first time Viv had ever seen one of the seven Ajah’s sanctuaries. Accepted were not allowed up here unless they had been summoned by an Aes Sedai.

 

                Jagen led the girl into a large room. Plump red velvet chairs, cushions, and stand lamps littered the room. Dark paneling served to cover the walls, but that did nothing to soften the warm feeling of the room. Such a strange thing to associate with the Red Ajah. From everything Viviane had heard, she would have assumed the Red Sisters preferred stark and sterile surroundings. Almost like a White might… But no. The Reds were passionate about their cause in life. Viviane should have known better than to judge them on rumor alone.

 

                A servant brought tea and the two women seated themselves in large, plush sitting chairs. It was quite nice really. Viviane hadn’t had this sort of treatment… well… ever. If this was how every Aes Sedai lived, then Viviane had made an incredibly smart choice in coming to the Tower.

 

                Too bad Mother couldn’t be here too… She deserves better than that small shop in Camelyn, but what would she do here? Polish candelabras? She wouldn’t do well as a servant, otherwise, I would have sent for her years ago... I’ll just have to provide for more once I attain the shawl.

 

                Jagen went immediately into the lesson as soon as the Servant was away. It was captivating, truly. Viviane had heard a lot of rumor, and as fun as that is to listen to, Viviane knew much of it was pig slop. Before her was a woman that clearly knew what she was talking about. Viv gobbled it all up, holding off on asking her questions until Jagen gave her leave to.

 

                Viviane took a few sips of her tea, in perfect imitation of Jagen Sedai. It was not meant to mock, quite the opposite. Viviane was emulating Jagen, it was a habit of Viv’s that she was not aware of. Whenever she was around a woman that appeared powerful, she couldn’t help but pick up a few of their mannerisms, if only during her time around the women. Setting her cup down gently, Viviane spoke, “I hope you do not mind me speaking frankly, Jagen Sedai. I only do so because I cannot learn if you do not know exactly what is going through my mind…”

 

                Taking a deep breath, Viviane continued on, “You are not like anything I had heard of during my time here. Forgive me, but there are many Novices and Accepted that I have talked to, and a great deal of them do not speak of the Red Ajah in a favorable light. I still do not know much about the Red, but from what I’ve seen and heard today… All those girls were ignorant ninnies, as far as I am concerned,” Viv chuckled to herself lightly, “I do hope all of those girls see themselves properly educated. It must be hard to be a Red… The mere thought of Stilling is enough to make me sick up. I am sure that if I came to the Red Ajah, I would need to strengthen my resolve a little. I can’t imagine it is easy Gentling these poor men, even knowing what they might do to the world… The loss of the True Power must be hard on them… But, it is for the good of the Pattern.” Viv gave a firm nod at that.

 

                “I don’t imagine things would be bad… at first. They would probably be nothing more than a poor Wilder until the madness took hold. Everyone knows about the Breaking, I do not need to recount it for you. The very same thing could happen today. It would only take one male channeler with enough strength and enough madness to rent the world usunder once more,” She gave a shiver before going on, “I do not know the names of any man capable of channeling that has not proclaimed himself the Dragon Reborn. I am sorry if that makes me appear ignorant, Jagen Sedai. That is why I am here, though, to learn.”

 

                Viviane smiled warmly at the Red Sister before taking another sip of her tea. Today was turning out to be a marvelous one… Viv did want to be Blue… But these Reds didn’t seem so bad.

Edited by Oddpositions

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Jagen was surprised at the frankness with which Viviane spoke. In private lessons such as this one, however, she let it happen. These kind of lessons were the type where she could learn the personality of a girl outside of her normal lessons with others. Viviane, at least, seemed to think she had a much better opinion of Reds than other Accepted, and it at least seemed true by her words. When Jagen herself was an Accepted she did not speak much of the Reds at all; everyone thought she was going to go with White. And with fewer and fewer girls being found out to channel, and only a fraction of those being raised to the shawl, raising new Reds was a rare occurrence indeed--yet not so rare as the White and Blue.

 

"It is good you seem to have given this some thought already, Viviane. Your words, they tell me you have been observing well. We will speak of False Dragons, but not quite yet. Now that you grasp at least some of the importance of our mission, we will speak of some traditions. It was decided when the Red Ajah formed we would not bond Warders. This, it was for practical reasons. It would be bad enough to have to gentle a friend or family member, yes? Now imagine if you bonded a Warder, only to find that he has begun touching saidin." Her voice hardened slightly, but Jagen did not grimace or show any distaste; it was a bit illogical in her mind to let even a grimace show when speaking of men who could channel. To her, it just was what it was. "The pain it would cause them both--Aes Sedai and Warder--does not seem worth it. Men who are gentled often die shortly afterwards, relatively speaking. In the past, we try to give them meaningful tasks after their gentling, but they invariably kill themselves from having lost the ability to channel."

Jagen set down her empty teacup; it was Viviane's job to fill it. "For this same reason, relationships with men are highly discouraged. I hardly need to go over why." She paused, looking closely at the Accepted before her, before adding, "Of course, all Aes Sedai have a tradition of not interfering with another's business. Thus speaking of such relationships should never be considered." She watched Viviane's expression until she was sure the Accepted understood what she was saying.

"That all said, we highly encourage you to make friends within your Ajah. Reds develop strong friendships because only we can understand what other Reds are going through. It is also encouraged that, if desired, a sister ask another to accompany her, and it is required when we are seeking out rumors of men who can channel. Because we often travel together, strong friendships do ensue. Now, of course, making friends outside of the Reds is just fine, as well. The more friends you have, the easier it is on... other matters." She had hesitated only briefly there; it was not on purpose, but Jagen found herself wondering exactly how to word that.

 

"As for how we find men who can channel, we have a few techniques. There is a weave you will soon learn, if you have not already, which helps to read residues of the One Power. If we are investigating, say, a town where it is said a male has been channeling, it is possible to use this weaves to find if saidin has indeed been used. A bit of deeper investigation and reasoning will lead us to the one responsible. This brings me to our second main use of the One Power--in case the man we encounter knows how to use the One Power as a weapon. Unlike us he is not bound by any oath--another reason we must hunt these men as quickly and efficiently as possible. We have no desire to lose a Sister to such a man, nor innocent bystanders. For this, we practice weaves to battle other channelers. And while the idea of practicing such weaves may strike you as "fun", remember the dire need for why we do it. We must take such things seriously."

 

"Lastly, though I am sure you perhaps have guessed, we Reds have a lot of pride in our mission and what we stand to do. We are guardians of the world itself. For this we always encourage our sisters to wear Red, to even wear their shawl as much as they wish, for our shawl is both a uniform and banner showing what we stand for; people can see us and know they are safe in our hands; only the men who dare to touch the One Power will feel our wraith. Our mission is one of the most important in the Tower." She adjusted her shawl before leaning back in the chair.

"Now, in your own words, I want you to explain why having a Warder could be detrimental to the Reds' mission. Also explain to me what One Power weaves you think would be useful in tracking down men who could channel--or helping to capture them and keep them contained."

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                While Jagen spoke, Viviane poured another cup of tea for the Sister. She had to stop herself from topping off the Sister’s cup everytime it was set on the table. Viviane prided herself on her decorum… At least she did now. It was something she picked up in the Tower, definitely not a skill learned in the alleys of Camelyn.

 

                It was such a shame that Saidin drove men insane. The wonders that could be created if that were not true! Then again, everything would be different. Viviane wasn’t even sure if there would be a White Tower if men could channel riskfree.

 

                From everything Viviane had seen and heard, the Reds were an immensely proud lot. She had wanted to impress Jagen Sedai, even without knowing that previous fact, but knowing it was true put strain on all of Viviane’s thoughts. She went over her answers a few times in her head before speaking them out loud.

 

                Viviane took a breath and began, “A Red must never put herself at intentional risk. Taking on a Warder is not guaranteed to end with one to the Sister, but there is a chance, and even a single chance is not worth it where the Sister’s life or work is involved. The Warder bond runs deep and if that man were to go mad, the Sister might fall into madness with him, that or descend into despair over the loss of her Warder. The White Tower needs every able-bodied Sister, especially if Tar’mon Gaidon happens in our lifetimes. A Sister cannot afford to lay in bed crying when she has an entire planet to defend, Jagen Sedai.”

 

                Some of the other Accepted had joked that Viviane memorized books for fun. True she liked to read, but not to the point of obsession. It was because of the way she regurgitated information. It was clear, concise, and orderly… At least Viviane felt it was. There were a good number of Browns that were trailing after her. Anytime she had stepped out of line, her punishment usually involved something with the Library… and she was sure that had nothing to do with a certain prank she pulled there a few years back…

 

                Viviane refilled Jagen’s teacup.

 

                “I already have a few weaves in mind that might help in dealing with them once I caught them, but the tracking is the more difficult of the two, I think… Do Shields work on non-channelers? There is nothing to cut off so one would think that would be an easy way to detect the Spark, but that would be too easy wouldn’t it? It might take a lot of effort and scare many innocents, but I imagine you could use an Illusion weave in an effort to bait a male channeler into exposing himself. If you suspected someone, you might create the Illusion of Trollocs coming after his family. Were he able to touch the Source, I doubt he would hesitate to save the life of a loved one…” Viviane paused to take another sip of her tea and to collect her thoughts. There really weren’t that many weaves she could think of, not without getting creative.

 

                “Can Delving be used to detect the ability to Chan- No, nevermind. I knew the answer to that. If we could Delve for that, we wouldn’t need to test in other ways. Jagen Sedai, I am sorry but I cannot think of any other methods to discover a male channeler. The only things that come to mind are the Distant Eye and Eavesdropping weaves, but for those to be of use, you would have to have some inkling as to where a male channeler might be hiding. So I think that your Ajah’s Eyes and Ears might be the best tool in tracking a man that can touch the True Source.” Viviane had her eyes set on establishing her own network of Eyes and Ears, for her use alone. She had already started laying the groundwork in Tar Valon with a few choice dressmakers, but they wouldn’t be ready to hand her information for years to come. Still, even the most stunning ballgown wasn’t simply cut from fabric and tossed on a woman. The thing required hours and hours of pinning, sewing, altering, embellishing. Great works took time and Viviane had planned on making this network her masterpiece. Perhaps the Reds could help with that, but they weren’t the only ones.

 

                “As for capturing and keeping, I would think you first must get a shield in place. Anything done up until that point would only serve to distract that man or throw him off balance enough that he loses his grasp on Saidin. Any battle weave would work, so long as it was not used in a lethal manner. A Flame Arrow to the thigh would work wonders, I think. After the Shield is in place, Earth or Air would serve to bind whether through thickened flows of air or even an encasement of stone, Jagen Sedai.”

 

                Viviane refilled the Red Sister’s cup again and smiled meekly.

Edited by Oddpositions

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Jagen smiled inwardly as she picked up her tea and sipped it. She liked the way this girl thought. A Flame Arrow weave, indeed. "Very good, Viviane. This kind of thought process will serve you well when you are Aes Sedai." The Red mused on Viviane's mention of using Delving to find if people could channel. Perhaps there had been a way, long ago, and such a weave was lost. But everything they knew about the One Power know told them a connection needed to be established with the Power first, and there did not seem to be a way to sense it in men. Or, perhaps Yellows knew. Not many studied male channelers after they were gentled. What would be the point? To learn if we can detect them ahead of time. She filed that thought away and set down what remained of her tea.

 

"Come. We must walk." Jagen lead Viviane out of the Red Quarters and down to the ground level of the Tower, then out a door to the middle of the Tower grounds. She stopped once they reached a broad, open well with balconies and windows where people from above could look down at the square. "This is the Traitor's Court. As you have surely learned already, this is only used for three purposes, and all of those three are only by order from the Amyrlin Seat. It is for executions, and also for the stilling of an Aes Sedai for a serious crime." Her lips tightened. "Lastly, it is used for gentling a man who can channel."

 

She adjusted her shawl to sit high on her shoulders. The long, bright red fringe swayed. "However, know that even men who can channel get a trial. If he was little to no trouble for where he lived and for the world, he is likely to be sent back home after. Some even hope he will recover and go to live on a normal life. But for those who have wronged the world, they must be punished accordingly. For them, gentling is only the beginning."

Jagen faced the Accepted before her. Her voice was all duty, now. "The Red Ajah help keep countries stable and wars from breaking out by preventing False Dragons from wrecking havoc upon the world. We stop them from causing pain and heartache to families and friends; their towns and cities. No one wins when a male channeler is involved." Except, perhaps, the Reds and the White Tower. That thought stayed private. "Men who have declared themselves to be the Dragon Reborn but do not fulfill any prophecy are false Dragons. Of all channeling men, they commit the most severe crimes. They do not do it for the world, but for themselves. Fame and glory is what they are after, to fill their egotistical needs. They do not care what happens to other people. They do not care about the pain they cause."

She began to walk slowly around the Traitor's Court; Viviane stayed close as Jagen went on. "Raolin Darksbane. He was the first to be of import, in 335 AB--not very long after the White Tower was finished. He was born in Aren Mador in Essenia--Far Madding today. He barely lasted a half year, having been taken in 336 AB, right before the Feast of Lights. But in that short time he became very influential, very powerful. After he was captured and gentled, his followers foolishly dared to free him from the White Tower. They, of course, failed, but their blind loyalty costed lives and damage to the city."

"Then there was Yurian Stonebow. He too was born in Far Madding--then Fel Moreina--declaring himself in 1301 AB." Her lips tightened again. "He killed three sisters and captured three more to be at his mercy before he was subdued. The White Tower caught and gentled him in 1308 AB."

 

"There are others, not so famous, but still more. Davian was his name--the White Tower, of course, caught him too, before he could do much damage. Then after him, there was Guaire Amalasan, in FY 939. He perhaps is one you have heard of. When the White Tower sent sisters to capture him, he killed one and managed to still two others." She shook her head. "He was able to conquer almost half of all the lands this side of the Aiel Waste in the  War of the Second Dragon, including taking the city of Far Madding in only three weeks. He too was subdued, after Artur Hawkwing stopped him, and he was brought to the Tower and gentled in FY 943.

 

"Now, just think of it, Viviane. A war that spans half of the world as we know it. You can imagine the heartache and damage he and his followers caused. Reflect on the importance of the Reds' mission. Explain what could have happened if the False Dragons are allowed to run free, and the necessity of which the White Tower must act."

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                Viviane lept to her feet, although not un-gracefully, to follow Jagen Sedai out of the Red’s Quarters. The lesson was starting to get good, Viviane had hoped that the Red Sister was not showing her out. Viviane had no urge to hunt men that could channel, but the thought process behind what she might do enlivened her. Not many here asked what she thought, so it was quite refreshing. The praise from Jagen Sedai drew a light blush to Viviane’s cheeks, but she didn’t think the Sister saw.

 

                The Traitor’s Court. A chill went down Viviane’s spine. She knew exactly what happened here. When she was a Novice, the names of every Aes Sedai to ever be stilled by the Tower had been drilled into her head. It all happened here. She could sick up at the very notion of being severed from the True Source, especially when she had only begun to learn. Still. Jagen Sedai would expect a spine of steel and a stiff upper lip, so Viviane maintained every ounce of serenity she could muster. A Sister would not shirk from entering this place, so neither would she.

 

                It was good to hear that men who hadn’t cause much havoc would be set free. Typically. Viviane thought of her own Father and what might have happened if he could Channel. He had died at the end of the Aiel War, true, but what if he had been gentled and sentenced to death before she was old enough to remember his face? A tragedy. Viviane treasured what little she remembered of her Father and she wouldn’t trade that for anything.

 

                Viviane filed away the names of the False Dragons for later use. No doubt she would need to know such things. She had heard of a few of them growing up, but really never gave it any mind. None of those men had been Andoran, so it did not immediately affect her or her family. She was just thankful all of those men had never made it far enough to pose a true threat.

 

                She snapped out of her own thoughts at Jagen’s command. The answer came almost by rote. True, she was learning much today, but she knew exactly what happened when madmen were allowed to channel and run free.

 

                “As you have already said, such men can conquer kingdoms and destabilize the entire continent. Such chaos would take years, possibly generations to recover from. The White Tower would have to work day and night to ensure that every kingdom was righted and all of the people of the land taken care of. Death, destruction, and carnage leave a lasting impression. No doubt the morale of many kingdoms would fall into the gutter. That could threaten productivity with farmers, traders, merchants, and so many others. The economies of many kingdoms would also take a hit. That is the best scenario, I think,” Viviane said meekly.

 

                These things had happened before. Viviane was just thankful she had paid some attention to her history classes. That was never her strongest subject. She always had trouble memorizing dates and names, but actions were a whole nother territory. She may not know any False Dragons by name, but she remembered the aftermath of their reins. Viviane enjoyed the parts of history that spawned Gleeman’s tales. The Age of Legends was of particular interest to her, but that was true for many, especially Aes Sedai.

 

                “The worst-case scenario would be another Breaking. It is no secret that men are stronger in the One Power than women. It would only take one man, with considerable luck no doubt, to tear this world apart. They could easily begin as a conqueror, but what of the quiet man in a small village? Were he allowed to carry on and teach himself, one day the madness would take hold, and who is to say he could be caught in time? It just takes strong flows of Earth, Fire, and Water to reform continents, or tear them apart… At least, that is what I would assume.” Stories of the Dragon echoed in the back of her mind as another shiver crept down her spine. She had never been fearful of male Channelers, but the more she considered it…

Edited by Oddpositions

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"You have quite satisfactory answers," Jagen told her. "Well done." She, as a teacher, usually avoided being snide or rude with students when it wasn't called for, though some sisters took opportunities to remind Accepted of their place at every chance. While Jagen was not quite innocent of this, she rarely brought such an attitude into the classroom. Learning the lesson being taught was far more important.

 

She lead Viviane away from the Traitor's Court, but instead of leading her back toward the Tower, she took her to a garden path to walk along. The Tower had many gardens; some connected, some more isolated. This particular path wrapped all the way around the largest garden if they stayed on the edges. This was the one she most often walked.

 

"From now, we have covered the main and most important mission of the Reds. However, like the other Ajahs we all have Aes Sedai duties to perform. At the White Tower you are receiving the best education in the world. Therefore all Aes Sedai are trained as diplomats and have some familiarity with most basic or important laws in each land. We all can serve as advisors to the elite and know our words carry weight.Should the need arise, we can all battle, should the need arise, and we can all provide assistance to someone in need--or for a cause. We can be researchers and teachers and Healers--for those who have the Talent. All this we can do, independent of our Ajah. Reds often serve in such roles you'd expect, say, a Green or Brown or Gray to champion, and this is true for the other way, as well. It also does assist our main mission, however. We are encouraged to get ourselves out into the world. Think of it as a forward line of defense that is there in case they are needed. We can and will assist other sisters, even in other Ajahs, in their goals as long as our main mission is not compromised."

"But one's Ajah defines who you are and what you value most. For Reds, it is the safety of the world no matter how hard the work is, no matter how dangerous the mission is--we must stand ready to do what needs to be done. Now, you will reflect again. What could or would you find yourself doing if you chose the Red Ajah? Would the mission of the Reds impede your own goals?"

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                Viviane’s cheeks colored at Jagen Sedai’s compliment. That was usually what happened when one of the Sisters recognized her hard work. Viviane had thrown herself into her studies the first day she arrived at the Tower, and it was beyond gratifying when other’s noticed. She wasn’t doing it for them, to be sure, but still, it was very encouraging. Offering a warm smile to the Aes Sedai and a curtsy, Viviane spoke just as warmly, “Thank you very much, Jagen Sedai,” and proceeded to follow the Red out of the Traitors Court.

 

                Jagen lead Viviane to a lovely garden and continued the lesson as they strolled along the path. Viviane made nods when appropriate, but never did she stop paying attention to the woman walking beside her. It was almost as if they were the only two in the Tower, locked in a bubble of learning.

 

                “The more you teach me, Jagen Sedai, the more I can see how the Red would help me… You know of my family; we’ve been poor for as long as I can remember. When Mother was too busy to watch me, I was left to my own devices. More often than not, I would find myself wandering the streets of Camelyn… Light, how I never got mugged or murdered I’ll never know… My point is that I’ve seen the underbelly of humanity. It is not pretty. There are so many out there suffering…” Viviane was silent for a moment as she said a prayer for her late Father and Grandmother.

 

                Viviane went on in a firm voice, “I do not want to see anything like that again. I want to help uplift the people of the world. Feed them when they are hungry, clothe them when they are cold, and protect them when they are in danger. We have been given a precious gift from the Creator, we shouldn’t squander it. The White Tower is the only authority in the world, as far as I am concerned. Taking both of those facts in hand, we must make this planet a better place than how we found it,” She gave a sharp nod at that.

 

                A light breeze suddenly picked up and tugged at Viviane’s wavy mane, tendrils of auburn hair dancing in the wind. She brought a hand up to push a few strands from her face, all the while maintaining that mock serenity that seemed a second skin on Jagen Sedai. Images of homeless children, battered wives, and carousing husbands danced in Viviane’s mind. She pushed them away and pictured that familiar rosebud.

 

                “I’ve been assuming this whole time that I would have to trudge from town to town, seeing to the needy, but you’ve opened my mind to new possibilities. Yes, I would still visit towns doing the work I just described, but why stop there? As you said, we may play advisor and diplomat; I think it more worthwhile to approach Rulers and Mayors to draft new laws or policies to ensure the citizens of their domains do not become destitute. As a Red, I could also use that time traveling to uncover rumors about male channelers, establish eyes and ears for the Ajah, seek out new Novices. No. I do not think that the Reds would impede me or any of my dreams for the future; in fact, I am starting to see exactly what is so attractive about the Red Ajah. You have given me much to think on, Jagen Sedai.”

 

                Today was a day, among many, where Viviane’s world had been turned upside down. For the last 10 years she had her heart set on joining the ranks of the Blue Ajah, but spending a few hours with a Red Sister had cast countless doubts over Viviane’s mind.

 

                Light! But my hair is red! If I join the Reds, I’ll have to have a well thought out wardrobe. Any red-head that wears a matching dress always looks foolish…

 

                Suddenly realizing where her thoughts were headed, Viviane sighed internally.

 

                You can be so shallow sometimes, Viviane Accylon.

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Jagen listened to the Accepted's words, analyzing how Viviane's own mind must be sifting through all of the information she gave. She was pleased that the young woman was seeing the larger picture, and had better goals thus far than some of her sisters.

"You can see why the Red Ajah is necessary. We are guardians of humanity. To Serve All as Aes Sedai, we must help protect the world, both on the small and large scale, from destruction. The best way we can do this is by making sure men who can channel are brought to the Tower and gentled." She paused, then said, "It is a shame, but the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills. We must do what is necessary, what is difficult, for the betterment of all of humanity and our world as we know it."

"Spend more time reflecting on all of this information. What is the Red Ajah to you, now? You are dismissed, but you are also welcome to speak any final thoughts."

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                Viviane was thoughtful for a moment, hands gathered at her waist and an eyebrow only half-cocked. The class really had been wonderful; although that final note was rather somber. She really was contemplating joining the Red Ajah. Light, what had Jagen Sedai put in that tea? Viviane had been so sure of herself, she really only wanted to attend the class to have a complete knowledge of the Ajah, and because she respected Jagen Sedai. And here she was, the Blue Ajah all but forgotten. The decision had not been made, but Viviane now leaned a different direction than she had a few hours ago.

 

                “I think I agree with you, Jagen Sedai. Every Ajah has their part to play in the world, and some may be more vital than others. It takes a certain woman, a strong woman, to carry out the deeds that the Red must sometimes pursue. You don’t gentle them because you hate them. It is because you love them… And, really, when hasn’t love caused pain… eventually,” Viviane said another silent prayer for her late Grandmother and Father.

 

                “I still think that there is more we can do for them. Perhaps more should be pushed towards the path of Warder if they have the aptitude for it and haven’t committed any serious offenses of course. Perhaps a Sister would be strong enough to help him weather the storm; a Green perhaps,” Viviane allowed herself a small smile at that, “I almost think that the Red Ajah rests the entire world on their shoulders. You do what is necessary now so that we may reach the Final Battle. If there were male channelers at Tar’mon Gaidon… Why, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Dark One had a way to accelerate the Taint, turning those men towards the designs of the Shadow…” Viviane gave a shiver at that last thought. She didn’t normally fret over much, but her thoughts were turning down a dark path. She’d have to take another walk outside to clear her mind. She would not have nightmares of madmen tonight!

 

                Offering another gracious curtsey, Viviane spoke as she dipped her head forward, “Thank you for the lesson, Jagen Sedai. It has been most illuminating. By your leave, Aes Sedai.”

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