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Rhapsody in Red: Viviane's Oaths (Attn: Reds)

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                It was done.


                Viviane sat kneeling on the ground before the small table in her room, a single candle glowing before her. Shadows danced along the wall as the flame flickered too and fro. There was no detectable breeze, but there must be some unseen draft with the candle's behavior. Everything was silent in the hallways of the Accepted’s Quarters; most of those girls would have found sleep for the night. Not Viviane. She was contemplating her future… And how tired she would inevitably feel come the morning.


                Not that Aes Sedai let fatigue touch them, oh no.


                At the very least, Viviane sat alone with a full stomach. The kitchens certainly had outdone themselves on that meal. Smoked salmon on a bed of buttered greens. Warm honey oat bread and clear bone broth. Candied bacon and roasted potatoes. Custard filled tarts and several types of sugared berries. Wine that had not been watered. Tremalking black tea.


                Viviane’s mouth began to water at the thought. She pushed it out of her mind as quickly as she could. There would be time to eat whatever she liked once she had gained the shawl. It was a great injustice that one was not administered the Oaths as soon as they passed the test, but the White Tower was nothing if not traditional.


                There was nothing for it but to focus on the flame that danced before her. Viviane did not really want to contemplate her testing. It had all come flooding back to her as soon as she had stepped out of the Ter’angreal. Light, would she have to face such trials if she lived to see the Last Battle? She would be prepared if such was the case. At least she would never have to deal with any of the horrible situations involving her family…




                Her mother still lived.


                Best to put that out of her mind. The Tower was her home and the Sisters were her family now. She would be bound to them for eternity once she took the Oaths. Oh, she would certainly remain in contact with Mother, but it might be best if she never went to Camelyn to call on her. Mother could come here to visit. There would be less risk of anyone noting that the two were related, and then no one could use Mother against her… If it ever came to that- the Light forbid. One had to consider the possibilities when one had decided upon the Red Ajah.


                So strange.


                Years and years ago, Viviane had decided upon the Blue. It wasn’t until a certain Red sister took a liking to Viviane that she had started to doubt her convictions of Ajah choice.


                Viviane had grown up on the rougher side of Camelyn. She had seen what it was like for the poor and the destitute. Upon entering her name in the Novice Book, Viviane had vowed to herself that she would become Aes Sedai if only to help ensure that the people of the land were taken care of. Blues were obsessed with their causes and they held more than a little sway with many nations. It seemed so simple at the time.


                The Reds, however, were literally the sworn protectors of the world. They were the force that stood between humanity and the Shadow. They protected everyone that walked under the Light. Yes, they hunted and gentled men that could Channel, but that was only a small fraction of what it meant to be a Red Sister. People only focused on that mission because those same men were the biggest threat to the world. There hadn’t been many wars between the nations in recent memory. Light, even the Battle of the Shining Walls could be chalked up to the vanity of a single ruler.


                To be Red was to be flexible. To be Red was to be a guardian. To be Red was to be selfless. To be Red was to hold as much love in your heart as possible! If that were not true, why would so many women take up that shawl and vow to themselves to protect humanity from the horrors of the world…  And even to protect humanity from itself.


                Viviane’s mission had never changed. It was only her view on the world that had changed, and thus her plans to achieve her mission. She would strike out and go to-


                A knock sounded at the door.


                It was time.


                Viviane had no need to school her face, she had already felt like serenity incarnate. So lost she had been in her own thoughts, she did not notice that the candle was almost burnt out. The sky was turning from black to a deep shade of violet outside of her window. Dawn was approaching. She rose from her spot on the floor with ease and went to the door, not hesitating to open it. She knew who lay on the other side.


                Seven sisters watched her as the door slowly swung back. Viviane was not surprised to find her favorite Red, Jagen Sedai, amongst them. Not a word was spoken by anyone. Viviane stepped out into the hallway and the seven women surrounded her, forming a sort of mock-honor guard, and they walked off into the dark hallways of the Tower.

Edited by Oddpositions
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                Viviane and her circle of sisters stopped at the large doors, that now hung open, to the Testing Room. The ring of seven sisters broke apart to form a line behind Viviane as she turned to face the open doorway. The Amyrlin Seat and her Keeper stood within the room, Viviane could see them clearly just a few paces beyond the threshold.


                “Who comes here?” The Amyrlin’s voice called from within the room.


                “Viviane Accylon,” she answered proudly.


                “For what reason do you come?”


                “To swear the Three Oaths and thereby claim the shawl of an Aes Sedai,” Viviane called out again. It was incredibly difficult not to smile or show any emotion during this ceremony. She had worked so long, so hard to get here. Viviane would not screw this up with her own base urges. She was no flighty chit. She was- would be- Aes Sedai!


                “By what right do you claim this burden?” The Amyrlin asked loudly, no hint of emotion.


                “By right of having made the passage, submitting myself to the will of the White Tower.”


                “Then enter, if you dare, and bind yourself to the White Tower.”


                The Amyrlin, in a red brocaded dress slashed with the other six colors of the Ajahs and the infamous stole around her neck, stood behind the oval Ter’angreal. The Keeper stood at her side, wearing a modest dress of red and green, her own stole draped loosely around the neck, holding a black velvet cushion in both hands. Every Sitter was in attendance this morning, each wearing their own shawls, grouped by Ajah; in front of each grouping of Sitters was a Sister holding a shawl no doubt meant for Viviane. Calm, placid faces watched Viviane as she crossed into the room. She passed beneath the oval Ter’angreal and came to the Amyrlin, kneeling before the woman.


                The Amyrlin took the Oath Rod from the cushion that the Keeper held. Viviane had to keep from gasping at the sight of it. She had read about it, heard about it, and even talked about it, but a part of her never thought that she would actually hold the Oath Rod itself. It was a crime that Mother and Grandmother were not here to witness her Raising. The Amyrlin placed the Rod into Viviane’s outstretched palms. The Amyrlin embraced the Source and touched the Rod with a thin flow of Spirit.


                Viviane closed her hands around the smooth ivory-white cylinder and spoke clearly, “Under the Light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will speak no word that is not true.” The Oath settled upon her, and it felt like a tight bag had been slid over her entire being. She would have gasped for air if she had not practiced such self-control over the years.


                “Under the Light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will make no weapon for one man to kill another.” The bag became a tiny box as the second Oath settled upon her. Still, Viviane did not show her discomfort, nor her eagerness.


                “Under the Light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will never use the One Power as a weapon except against Shadowspawn, or in the last extreme of defending my life or that of my Warder or another sister.” The tiny box became a coin purse as the last vow settled upon Viviane. It was a flexible coin purse, to be sure, but oh, light, how it hurt her skin. How long until this feeling would leave her? How many hours? Or worse, days, would she have to endure this tightness?


                “It is half done, and the White Tower is graven on your bones,” The Amyrlin said, taking the Rod from Viviane and replacing it upon the cushion. “Rise now, Aes Sedai, and choose your Ajah, and all will be done that may be done under the Light.”


                Viviane rose, careful not to appear stiff, and offered the Amyrlin a formal curtsy before bending to kiss her Great Serpent ring.


                Slowly, and with as much calm and grace as she could manage, Viviane walked towards the Sisters of the Red Ajah. The sisters from the other Ajahs began making their courtesies to the Amyrlin and then departed. First the Yellows, then the Greens, the Browns, the Whites, the Greys, and then the Blues.


                The remaining Reds gathered around Viviane and laid the red-fringed shawl around her shoulders.


                This was it.


                Viviane was becoming an Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah.


                “Welcome, Sister, to your new home.”

Edited by Oddpositions
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  • 3 weeks later...

Jagen was present standing between the other two Sitters, all in their formal, long-fringed shawls. All wore varying shades of red; she was in her deep colored Taraboner gown. Tatiana, to her left, seemed dwarfed more than her usual short stature standing next to the taller woman, though both of them came from Tarabon. Viviana, the oldest of all of them, was on her right. They stayed still while Jagen stepped forward, near the young sister who held the newly sewn shawl, the fringe bright red and long.


Ceremoniously, Jagen reached for Viviane's left hand and held it up. Holding the new sister's gaze, she took off her Great Serpent ring and kissed it. Then the Sitter took up Viviane's right hand and replaced the ring there.


This finished, the young Red placed the shawl on her new sister's shoulders. "Welcome to your new home, Aes Sedai," she intoned.


Still holding her hand, Jagen and the other Sitters intoned, "The Red Ajah welcomes you, Sister."


She let go of Viviane's hand, letting it fall. "You are now an Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah," she went on, formally. "You have taken upon yourself the mantel of a Guardian of Humanity. Wear your shawl with pride, for it shows not only your station, but the important mission you have accepted. The White Tower moves the world, a world which needs protection from channeling men. This is the duty held by the Red Ajah. Welcome, Sister."


Those were the formal words, and Jagen would not change them, but she realized the new sister may perceive some irony in a situation that was unique to Jagen; out of all of them present, only she held an Asha'man bond, and even the newest novice probably knew.


Now, it was up to the Sister who laid the shawl on her shoulders to instruct Viviane in the first things she would need to know. Only they would walk together; the Sitters gathered themselves to go to the Reds' Quarters ahead of them.


Jagen lead them up in silence, though it was not required. Tatiana and Viviana expressed their pleasure at having a new sister, and talked about Viviane's qualities. What was required was that the halls of the White Towr be empty, even of servants, until the new sister was home. When they opened the doors to the red-and-white tiled floors, Tatiana wove the weave to enhance her voice, "Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah, a new Sister approaches! Prepare to welcome your new Red Sister!"


It only took a few minutes for the women to line up in the hall in front of their doors, standing formally. Each would tell Viviane welcome.


As the Highest, she took up the middle position again between the two Sitters. Tatiana suddenly breathed, "Oh."

"What is it?" Jagen asked.

"Well... I was just thinking of the Asha'man, Highest. Would they welcome a new Sister, too?"

"It seems a bit late to discuss that, yes?" she said with some exasperation.

"And tradition dictates it be only sisters," Viviana added, but she seemed to snap her mouth shut at the end. Traditions were needing to be changed recently.


Jagen supposed she would have to think of a proposal later, if at all, but it looked like a no from her. After all, she was sure even Greens did not include their Warders in such ceremonies, but who knew? Besides, she would need to see Viviane again after midday, so she was busy already. It would give their new sister time to change, eat and perhaps catch a bit of sleep; the Reds did not like a new sister to be falling over and out of focus on her first day.


They all then waited in silence; Viviane and her escort would be here soon.


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