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Ay. Bay.. Say... Dar - Intro to Letters (Attn: Aurora)


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Tread carefully, for you tread on me.


Saline dipped into a deep curtsey, wondering what it was Tahira Sedai wanted. Best be wary. The anticipation in her room proved overwhelming for her already unsteady nerves. Smooth, cheeky Odesius had found her at the Yard during her weapons training with Lyssa, rewarding her efforts at lunging with a gleaming smile, and delivered a summons to the Aes Sedai's chambers as soon as the lesson was over. Distracted by the message, the remainder of the lesson had gone poorly. The Taraboner was unable to concentrate on forms, instead of progressing as it had earlier in the morning, her grip with the scimitar had been shamefully weak. Lyssa dismissed her a half-hour early with a gentle rebuke, so the nerves converged until she reached the door and knocked. Disconcerted by that leaking grin which unlatched the door, she puzzled at what exactly she was supposed to be comforted about, as she awaited her assignment.


"Good of you to come," Tahira greeted crisply, "I've a child for you to teach."


Most Accepted mentored, but she was already responsible for Ino's education. There was a new form for the initiates, for her Advisor informed her, so this assignment did not make sense to her. For a moment she struggled, but did not remain speechless. Saline rose, keeping her eyes down to signify her status as well as acknowledgment for the Sister's opinion. Respectful disagreement, Saline reminded herself as she chose her words. "Pardon me, Aes Sedai, but can she not join Vera Sedai's class for all incoming Novices?"


"The Gray Sister has enough on her plate, lass. This child is illiterate, which is not all her character lacks. Pia Sedai had referred her to you for Mentoring until she acquires adequete skill over her literacy, and more importantly, control to learn in a group." Ever so dryly, "Do you have any objections to the Mistress of Novice's trust that you would be capable of taking this on?"


"No, Aes Sedai." Maybe if she bite her lips far enough, she'll be able to swallow that runny mouth of hers. Her impression of the Warder was unflattering. His reserve appeared to be as wooden as a brass gong as he chuckled unhelpfully from his niche in the corner.


"Her name is Aurora Dovienya."


She folded into a curtsey to depart, her strides toward the egress widened as the Warder flashed another glittery teethful at her. Biting words hounded her retreat to the classroom, administering her to "Accepted, keep an eye on Aurora. She has witty hands."


How long would it take a young girl with witty hands to learn her letters? The Taraboner could see how Vera Sedai's introduction to saidar course would be inappropriate in Aurora's case, for the first assignment was to memorise a list and write an essay on burnt out channellers. Hard to keep up if one could not read for starters. Saline had never been exposed to many children, being an only pampered child cultured in an Elmora mansion for the majority of her years. Her Novice years had been arduous enough without the necessity of learning how to write well enough to explain a point clearly, to analyze with accuracy, for which she felt grateful.


Embracing the Source, she drew and wrapped a single thread of Fire around a bronze chalice reserved for her Intermediate class. There was little time for the tea to boil. Besides, she could use the fortefying effects of a strong brew. Releasing Saidar with a touch of regret the scent of elderberries disappated to her, though it faintly pervading the corridor, a pleasant draft. Tinkering with the temperature on the cups, she wove a razor thin spirit and fire to cool and heat the contained liquid alternately.


Somewhere from storage she had rummaged up a decent slate which she tied with twine. There was a booklet in her chamber from childhood practicing calligraphy. Her lady mother had been an artist, and the bohemian in her enforced standards on Saline's own penmenship. Saline realised what was necessary, though she might have to consult Syara on how she had learned her letters. All it took was practice, and knowing the words to record.


Flower heads nodded at her, shaking their pollen down the windowsill. She kept her back to the door, watching the lilacs until the Novice slipped through the unlocked door.


Aurora Dovienya’s appearance spoke with the Domani tongue of deceptive trickery.


Despite being diminutive in height, the Novice possessed enough presence to dominate the classroom. Rising from her curtsey, she spoke, with a gaze that absorbed the dim room, and having harnessed that astringent hardness from the rim to utility, those cotton eyes groveled for mercy from judgments. If none were poor, mercy would not be, they would cease to exist.


Yes, the eyes screamed something, but Aurora herself was silent. Her silence begged for kindness, kindness and more kindness. Graced with a heavier bone structure, only her face was soft with youth, and youth alone demanded a forgiving teacher, one that Saline was prepared to assume if that was what Aurora needed.


Saline read her. Aurora was not of noble birth. Darker arms baked by the sun like any women from Bandar Eban, yet her wrist had not the cursory signature of that broad even band, the proud symbol of a bracelet unlatched, of an Arad Doman House's gold rejected for the Tar Valon's ring. Did her hands wear the calluses during her toils, much like Saline’s now with the hardened pads from her training?


Saline beckoned for Aurora to sit on a cushion and sip at a porcelain cup with a gesture. She did not speak either. Their lesson would begin differently from others. It began with a name. On the blackboard the words proclaimed: "I am Aurora Dovienya, Novice of the White Tower."


Another move suggested perhaps Aurora could copy down the sentence on the slate set on the cushion in the middle. Like Tahira Sedai, it was more of a command, or they would be here all day.

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Aurora settled down on the softest cushion she ever hadn’t stolen. She overcame the urge to wiggle and giggle with amused comfort, and managed to keep the “poor child” expression on her face.


She squinted suspiciously at the blackboard, recognizing the characters thereon as written text, but only one word, the first, was vaguely familiar to her. However, being otherwise ignorant of the meaning, or purpose for that matter – who in their right mind would want to read?! – of the scribbles so nobly presented, she shifted her gaze to the woman’s face.


She had that look... The one the townsfolk used to give her when they saw her lurking around their precious tables; as though pleading with her, saying, “Come child, you should be old enough not to be a threat to my property. Please don’t make my life any harder than it already is!” The chuckle of amused, reluctant, sympathy rising in her throat was something long dealt with. She remained expressionless.


“I can’t read!” She announced to the woman who so obviously already knew it. Aurora took a certain satisfaction in obnoxiousness. “And considering my upbringing, I’m surprised you’d think I’ve had sufficient art lessons to copy that.” She nodded self-righteously at the board.


The woman’s eyes seemed to wilt at the edges with the confirmation of some foreseen distress. With a sigh, she said, “My name is Saline. Please put some effort into this, as I am. I understand your lack of familiarity with letters, but please, do try to copy them.”


Aurora considered this for a minute, lips pursed, eyes narrowed, until she finally turned to pick up the slate. Her mimic of the letters on the board was close to perfect, bar the combination of certain letters into one, or the omission of letters that seemed a part of the elaboration of others. She might, after all, have been drawing a picture of the woman herself, for her lack of comprehension.


Aurora had never taken worldly lessons of any kind, but she was intelligent, quick to learn, and had a good memory. Perhaps… ? Yes. Perhaps it would turn out that cooperation would open doors to convenience that rebellion would only close and lock… Yes. Aurora would give it a try.


So she wrote.

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Witty fingers? Light, that one would be forging signatures for living if she weren't brought here!


Expecting the round shaky handwriting of an infrequent letterwriter, resembling a copybook exercise written by a drunkard, she boggled at the fine continuous letters that the child scripted. Her letters were smooth, in imitation of Saline's unflourished letters, each line straight, each curve the precise degree, the meaning subordinated to the elegance of simplicity, even strokes of an artistic craft.


Feeling flattered at the lass's efforts thus far, Saline took in the sight of the Domani clutching at her chalk, too near the board, without much change in her expression. As it would take less energy to hold up a writing utensil near the top middle section she corrected the position with a touch, before waving for Aurora to finish up. She waited until the Novice had copied out the sentence before speaking, leaning from where she inspected the slate into the space between their cushions. "You are making a beautiful creation. But what does yours writing say?" Letting that sink in to the girl, Saline smiled to gentle the sting. "I write for a reason. I want to share a message."


"Words are empty. They are signifiers that cannot convey messages without us attaching meaning to them, giving them power. If I gave somebody a paper full of scrambled letters, then it is just mixed words. Words, they are connected by letters, but we will go into proper spelling later. It is good that you wish to learn this, for the uses of words is a power you cannot have if you do not learn. Throughout this lesson if I write anything on the boards, I expect it to be copied into your slate. Am I understood?"


Her smile widened in delight at Aurora's answer. "My, we need to work on you." What a prospect it was!

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  • 1 month later...

"Words are empty. They are signifiers that cannot convey messages without us attaching meaning to them, giving them power. If I gave somebody a paper full of scrambled letters, then it is just mixed words. Words, they are connected by letters, but we will go into proper spelling later. It is good that you wish to learn this, for the uses of words is a power you cannot have if you do not learn. Throughout this lesson if I write anything on the boards, I expect it to be copied into your slate. Am I understood?"


Aurora looked up at the end of Saline's speech, with a somewhat amused eyebrow raised. Supressing the smile threatening to insult her teacher, Aurora nodded and returned to her work.


She handed the slate back to the teacher and settled into the consequential explaination of the different letters and their pronounciations.


Yes, Aurora thought, as she began to understand the logic of words, literacy promised to be a most usefull craft... Yes. Most usefull indeed.


Aurora hid another smile.



OOC: *carries on as if it hasn't been a month and a half* hehe :P

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"Good," Saline smiled. "If you have anything to say, tell me. Do not fuss about offending me; I have over the course of time developed a rather thick immunity to 'shocking' comments and would not be indignant over any petty phrases that are generally percieved as unsuitable or rude."


She thought for a moment. "Where are you from, Aurora?" It was disingenious, as she had already known what the answer would be, but it would give them both a chance to get acquianted. The southern region Saline was familiar with, being born and raised Tarabon herself, she knew about the prevalent anti-Aes Sedai sentiments in Amadacia and Tear. The exceptions were Mayene, Illian and Altara; all are on friendly terms with the Aes Sedai for political reasons. Gheldean was suspicious but the nobles were respectful to Aes Sedai for the same reasons Tarabon nobles were. "Tarabon, land of my birth, we liked to house Aes Sedai guests at our manor as long as they keep to themselves and do not alarm our common people. Other than that, I really never bothered to interact with the Aes Sedai at home.” The Accepted sat straight and poised, yet a slight frown marred her countenance. “Our neighbours sometimes accuse the Illuminators for being Aes Sedai just because the Illuminator Guild here can set off the most magnificent fireworks in the World.”


"Arad Doman?" Ah that was disingenius. "I see. Well, people tend to have different attitudes about the Aes Sedai, and just channelling in general. You can learn more about it in The White Tower and the World. It is a class that Saya Sedai of the Red Ajah teaches. Very informative seminar, and you can take it as a Novice. In fact, it is one of the classes I would highly recommend, as knowing what the world thinks of us."


"Now, without further ado let us consider the makings of an Aes Sedai. Saidar, as you say - how to believe in its existence if one cannot observe it?"


"Saidar is the female half of the One Power; saidin the male half.” Saline began lecturing, her voice soothing and Aurora relaxed on her cushion, attending carefully to each word, drinking the information in. Idly Saline wondered how much the Novice knew; she had met Novices who were told a fair amount, and actually found explanations harder with the ones who were half informed than the ones more unfamiliar with the male as they do the female, which was virtually nothing beyond the name. “Channelling is when a Sister draws and controls flows from the one power. There are only two to three percent people of the world who are able to learn how to channel." Saline was still amazed by the low yield but she supposed that explained why most people thought Aes Sedai were legendary creatures because they were so few yet powerful. She marvelled that society would, with good cause of course, value something more because it is more rare.


"Nobody knows what Saidar is, really. But what it seems to be is the very essence of energy presented in elements. A channeller takes threads of that energy, the One Power, and weaves them to perform various tasks. The five threads of the One Power are Earth, Fire, Air, Water, and Spirit." She could see the wheels in the Novice's head turning. When she sat in Perine Sedai's chamber so long ago listening to the very same lecture she thought this thread business did not sound more complicated than weaving. How she was wrong.


In different coloured chalk she etched Saidar, Saidin, and Earth, Fire, Air, Water and Spirit on the board, and was pleased to see the Novice copying from it diligently.


"Any questions so far?"

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Aurora turned the concept of manipulating the elements without ones’ hands over in her mind, and felt the hair stand up on her neck, and her skin move like something lived under it. She felt as though her mind wanted to diffuse through her flesh and drift into the very essence of this Saidar; to be a part of it, to sense and empower it, and to give meaning to its existence, in return for its giving higher meaning to her own. Images flashed before her of excruciating light in a the sky, shining free and unhinged, far above a soul-blue expanse of water, dotted, like an old corpse’s skin, with island. It was not a place Aurora knew, had ever heard of, or had ever imagined, but it came to her, just the same – unawares, unbidden.



Realizing belatedly that her expression probably resembled those of the children in the streets back home did when she showed them gold pieces, she shut her mouth and sat up straighter. Feeling a little dazed, and unable to find her voice at first, it took her a moment to respond. She shook her head and swallowed.


“No… No questions, Teacher. Do continue.”


Aurora leaned slightly forward.





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Teacher? "Ah, my name is ... " The Accepted wrote on the board by Aurora's name "Saline Wastrel; please call me Saline."


A slight tremour, that wide eyed glaze she expected did not fail to manifest on the lass. Raising a slender, cautionary forefinger, she continued: “Every time one channels, she is more alive and alert to the sensations around be. Relinquishing Saidar is a reluctant acceptance of a paler life without that rush. Beware of that sweetness and lure to draw more than you are able to handle. You must not channel without supervision, as you have not acquired the control yet to not burn the ability to channel out of you.


"Shielding blocks the channeller from the One Power. Severing cuts a channeller off from the Source permanently, and is used in punishment for Aes Sedai. The females get stilled, and the males gentled." Picking up a parchement she passed it to the Novice. It was more comprehensive than the one she received from Perine Sedai in her first class, becuase not only did it include the Aes Sedai and Accepted who had burnt out or been stilled, but also their histories. For years she had researched this as her Mentor directed, and now it came handy. "Here is a record of every woman of the Tower burnt out or had been stilled. I will read it to you once. When I am done, I want you to copy the list over again until you memorise one person's story after I am done. Attend."


OOC: Saline will ask for you to read her a story of a girl/AS who burnt out/was stilled. Have Aurora read it, and our reading lesson is finished for to-day. I will start a separate thread for your actual Saidar lessons. :)

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