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A Night of Crying & Fear [Repost]

Guest Estel

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Guest Estel


Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2007


Aeveryn lay in her bed. She was utterly exhausted, and yet she could not find the strength to sleep. Every now and then a tear fled from her eyes, slowly rolling down haughty cheeks that had hardly aged a day since arriving at the tower more then twenty-nine years ago. Today had been the day she had been endeavouring since her arrival and she had actually made it. The tear now seeping out her closed eyelids was a tear of pride. She had channelled a hundred weaves. She had passed one hundred tests, some rougher then anything she had experienced before. She had survived crawling spiders and drooling men, earthquakes and whitecloaks. Some had been mild compared to others. Particularly she was proud to make it past wave twenty-one. What had to be trollocs had been harvesting a village. Little children, still alive and wake, had been tied to spits rotating over blazing fires. She too had been tied to a spit. And the heat had felt so real. The children’s screams still sounded so real. The memory of the fire’s blaze against her skin felt so real.


Pushing that memory aside, she tried to calm herself. She needed to rest. Her body and mind desired sleep. But immediately the next trial pushed itself into her awareness. It had started to placidly. A lake as solemn as it could be. Clear water under her. A perfect blue sky above. And around her just bright, peaceful forest. And then, out of nowhere, something pulling her under… But she had managed the weave – somehow. She had passed the test. She had survived.


Turning over in her cot she buried her face in the pillow, as if that could stop her mind to work frantically. It did not. There had been deceiving moment of little girl running to her with smiling, bright faces. They had been so cute, with ribbons restraining their curls and flowers in their hands. She remembered smiling at them until the sunlight reflected in the hidden blades they had held in the bunch of flowers.


The memories of her tests were hard to bare. A shudder passed through her, remembering slimy worms wind around her bare skin as she was trying to channel. But there was a more eminent dread waiting. And unconsciously she knew that her mind tortured her with visions of what had gone past, so that she would not have to think about what would still come. She had taken long to come to this point. Some girls arriving at the tower had taken half her time. And from those, many were not as gifted in the one power as she was. She could have been faster to reach the shawl. Hence, it clearly was a character flaw of hers that was responsible. Or at least, something the white tower had to consider a flaw, for they had punished her severely for it on many occasions. She knew that some Aes Sedai were against her ever being raised. And she knew, that many would deny her becoming part of her chosen Ajah outright. She just hoped someone with a mild temper would make the decision.


That was what she was truly afraid of. Other girls were worried that they would fail the one hundred weaves. That had never really troubled her. She was scared of what was to follow. It made her sick to the stomach and the tears she was now crying silently were those of fear. Her father had always been joking, she was the bravest of his sons. He had always teased them, that since he allowed her to wear breaches, he should make them wear dresses. Would that be her downfall now? Had she been too much oak, and too little willow? What if she had wasted three decades of her life? That thought was more then she could endure silently. Sobs echoed in the silence of her room.


Her mind returned to what she had achieved. Contemplating that was so much more pleasant then worrying about the road that still lay ahead of her. She had passed the test. She had crossed that rickety bridge, and she would not find out if the gates were locked until she was to reach the handle tomorrow. There was no point in worrying about matter she could not change. When would dawn end this nightmare of uncertainty and fear?


Focussing on the events of the prior day, she tried to ban her fear from her mind.


Aeveryn was strangly calm as she reached the room. It appeared the only reason for its existence was a huge ter’angreal. That moment, the world no longer rotated around the white tower. That moment it seemed to Aeveryn the world rotated around this object.


She hardly noticed the other women crowding the room. She hardly realised the mistress of novices had turned to her.


“You come in ignorance, Aeveryn Yewlis, how would you depart?”


“In knowledge of myself.”


“For what reason have you been summoned here?”


“To be tried.”


“For what reason should you be tried?”


“So that I may learn whether I am worthy.”


“For what would you be found worthy?”


If she had ever been ready for a test, then it was today. Still, saying out loud what she desired most made her shiver.


“To wear the shawl.”


Undressing, Aeveryn did not care that the other sisters would get to see a bony twig of a woman. If she had to undress before entire Tar Valon, it would not matter. The doubts were past. The fears of the dangers of this test had left her. All remaining was determination. She had waited for this test so long, she WOULD sell her soul to the dark one, to finally take it.




Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2007


The night had dragged on forever and she had not slept. At least getting up really early gave her the time to wash thoroughly as if cleaning herself could wipe away the last bits of acceptedhood and ensure she would be welcomed in her chosen Ajah. But she couldn’t eat. It was wrong to not eat, but she knew would she force anything down now, it would come out again just moments later, taking the same route it had entered her body. Sighing, she tried to smile. Rossa had made it and had become a respected blue sister. So if that Altaran could do it, she could do it.


Taking the plain comb she had used since entering the tower, she worked through her hair strenuously. Over the years her hair had grown quite long again, and the time when she had cut it short to look like a boy seemed to be forgotten. Still, the comb showed far too little wear, considering its age.


She owned no mirror, but even undressed she did not look much like a girl. She never had. Maybe that would change if she was to wear silk dresses, but she doubted it. Another novice had once told her she should use rouge and powder if she ever wanted to have a man smile at her, but then the last thing on her mind was if her face made men smile or not. No, she did not care if she was much to look at. But today she wanted to be at least clean and orderly when she would face the Amyrlin seat. She was so bony, they might well mistake her for a draught-withered version of the oath rod, but at least they would mistake her for a clean, draught-withered oath rod.


She checked the reflection of her eyes in the clear water of her bucket. She had cried a lot last night. She had always oscillated from being unable to cry, so sobbing uncontrollably. And while last night should have been a night of celebration and swelling pride, she had been taken by the fear they might yet turn her away and deem her not worthy to be granted acceptance in the Ajah of her choice.


Very Aes Sedai unlike, Aeveryn jumped when someone knocked at her door. For years she had been certain, nothing could unsettle her composure. She had been certain she was ready for anything, especially for the shawl. But now, all certainty had left her. What if they would rob her of her last shard of esteem and deny her? She knew it was unlikely it would happen, but she had seen the disapproval in some of the other sister’s eyes.


She had somehow made it to the room with the arch. Her stomach was a void that struggled to digest her soul. Every woman waiting for her in the chamber was wearing her stole. They looked festive and official, but to Aeveryn they also looked as if they were prepared to judge her. Faces considered her that had controlled the world’s fate for decades or centuries. She was deeply admiring, respecting and fearing every single woman present and even if she was raised today to the shawl, she doubted she would feel much different.


She had pictured herself coming here strong and proud and determined. But now her voice sounded fragile and clogged. At least she stood upright. At least she wasn’t shaking.


“Who comes here?”


“Aeveryn Yewlis.”


“For what reason do you come?”


“To swear the three oaths and thereby claim the shawl of an Aes Sedai.”


“By what right do you claim this burden?”


“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.”


She passed through the oval, and resisting the strong urge to fall before the Amyrlin seat and beg her to be kind. Just going on her knees seemed to be too little abasement to suit this moment. That sensation did not stop her from accepted the smooth length of the fabled oath rod overeagerly. Aeveryn was kind of aware, that her worries and fears might appear odd to the occasional onlooker. But she could not help it. She knew, there had been women coming this far, that had sworn the oaths but then had not been allowed to join the Ajah they had wanted to enter. Very briefly her head twisted to a woman wearing a blue shawl. But there was no telling in what mood she was in today.


Focussing on the woman before her, on Sirayn Sedai, and clenching the oath rod as if it was a rope that could bring her out of darkness and into the light she recited the oaths she had learned. At least now her voice was loud, certain and as clear as it could be.


“Under the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will speak no word that is not true.”


“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.”


“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.”


Maybe it was her wasted body slowly surrendering to the tension and strain of the past days, but she thought she could feel the meaning of these oaths soak into every fibre of her body. Maybe she should have tried to eat after all. Having vowed the last oath she thought she would go unconscious for a moment. The walls did seem to close in on her.


“It is half done, and the White Tower graven on your bones. Rise now Aes Sedai and choose your Ajah and all will be done that may be done under the Light.”


Hearing that from the Amyrlin seat brough tears to Aeveryn’s eyes. Worrying over details she had forgotten that with her swearing the oaths, she was technically Aes Sedai already. Tears wanted to come, but somehow she managed to surprise those. The moment of truth still lay before her. She assumed her friend had said these same words just a few months ago. She struggled to give them the same kind of ring she suspected Rossa had given them when she had stood here.


“I choose the Blue Ajah.”




Posted: Mon Jul 02, 2007


Aeveryn Yewlis.


Corrine had heard stories about this one.  Ran away from the Tower some three times was it?  And Light alone knew, because surely even the Mistress of Novices could no longer keep track, how many penances.  Twice the usual time spent as an initiate, stubborn to the point of stupidity and hell-bent on the study of torture.  And of course, she was a Blue aspirant.


Circumspectly, she glance over at the other five Sisters with her.  At the back stood the two youngest, or at least until Aeveryn petitioned, Sisters of her Ajah.  Estel and Rossa’s raising were separated by some years while Rossa had only been raised a few weeks before.  Two new Blue Sisters in little over a month?  It was unheard of!  Pleasant enough of course, if your newest Sister didn’t have a bad name coming in, that was.

“I choose the Blue Ajah.”


The other Ajahs filed out, some congratulating the new Sister on their way.  Meanwhile Corinne’dei Susten, the First Selector of the Blue Ajah stood silently, inspecting the young, if far older than young Rossa, woman who was petitioning entrance to her Ajah.  Unhealthily skinny, pale as the banded whites she still wore, her blonde hair begging for a thorough combing.  The Taraboner eyes her fellow countrywoman with the itching desire to “fix” her.


The older Taraboner let long moments of silence stretch on for some time and watched the woman struggle not to fidget out of nerves.  Finally the Head of Ajah smiled warmly and embraced what there was of her.  “Welcome home Sister, we have waited long for you.”

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Guest Estel

“Welcome home Sister, we have waited long for you.” Rossa, smiling at the face of Aeveryn, stepped forward as the youngest member of the Ajah and embraced her after the First Selector stepped back. She shared a look with Estel for what was going to happen next. In all of her encounters with Aeveryn, Rossa had, on a few occasions, envisioned that the first Accepted she had been introduced to during her time as a novice would ever be raised to the shawl of an Aes Sedai, let alone one of the same Ajah as herself.


Adjusting the way her own shawl rested in the crooks of her elbows, Rossa turned her smile back to Aeveryn. Aeveryn Sedai. It had a ring to it. Rossa held Aeveryn at arms length and smiled. “And now, Aeveryn dear, your lessons will really begin. First of all, we should make sure you know your way to your new quarters.”


“The Blue Ajah has a lot of traditions, as I’m sure you’re aware. At some point you’d better find an apron to cover your new dress so that you can bake a pie for the sixth Blue Sister to welcome you.” Rossa straightened, her hands smoothing her blue dress and trying to be the epitome of an Aes Sedai. “First of all we had better go to your quarters. There is another tradition that you will have to follow.” Rossa cleared her throat and looked at Estel, remembering how recently she herself had undertaken this. “You must walk through the Tower clad in the Light.”

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For some reason just then one of her favorite pieces of poetry came to her mind.


When the clouds, wild and scattered race by

When the wind, untamed, dances through my hair

When the only resonance is the rivulet humming

Then, I am free.


She stood there and while everything was as clear as if she was holding Saidar, she felt strangely deranged. She could hardly believe that she had really passed this test. In fact, she did not believe it at all. She felt she was in some odd type of trance, some dream that had to end any time soon. She smiled and nodded when it was required and expected and she shook hands, hugged women and said thanks when it was appropriate. But her mind stood aside and waited for the them to show their real faces. She was certain they were only testing her. Aevy was certain that they wanted to only see how she reacted, how she was glad and relieved. She was sure the other women wanted to see her face bright when she thought she had made it, before they brought her back to the mistress of novices and handed her the old banded dress. She could envision cold Aes Sedai faces watch her while her world came to an end. She was sure, their faces would then be compassionate, but their eyes would smile. But she did not act the girl all consumed with joy about her apparent accomplishment. Maybe she was just Aes Sedai for an hour. But she would make them remember her as such.  She hardly felt the cold stone tiles as she walked naked through the tower. She hardly realized that occasionally a warder or male servant passed. Of course they lowered their heads as soon as they realized she wore nothing and even less. Still, she was sure some of them were peeking from the corner of their eyes. Well maybe not the warders. Novices curtsied as their odd procession passed by, probably mainly to Rossa and the other sisters that could be recognized as such while they were shooting her uncertain glances, almost as if they were wondering what she had done this time. 


On one point Aeveryn even passed a man that looked like one of the few Lords brave enough to seek the white tower for advice. From his looks he was from Illean. At first his eyes passed over her unseeing, but then his gaze snapped back and the man nearly stumbled. Surely not because he was please with what he got so see. Aeveryn was certain he just could not make a rhyme why Aes Sedai were leading a naked woman through the tower. Well, in case he had not been given the type of advice he had hoped for, he had now something to tell his grandchildren. For a moment she wondered what kind of tale this man would spin from what he had seen, but then she dismissed him. He did not matter.


Aeveryn walked as proudly as she could manage, carrying her head high and face as placid as one could wish. It was said a queen was a queen no matter her state of dress or undress. That moment, the same was true for Aeveryn Sedai. She did not quite realize, but clothes or no, she still could not be taken for anything other then a full sister. Once their little procession passed a dully gleaming brass column and Aeveryn could make out the reflection of a young woman in the metal. She looked like a skeleton walking, but even that torn image told of grace and determination.


The little amount of muscles she had were hurting and she was slightly shivering from cold by the time they reached what Rossa announced to be her new quarters. It wasn‘t that cold outside, since spring had arrived a number of weeks past, but the warmth took some time to penetrate the massive walls of the tower. Her feet were numb. 


The rooms she was lead through were as cool as the tower had been. They were also empty. Maybe it was the lack of furniture that made them seem so huge, maybe it was the fact that she had been an accepted the same length of time she had lived in her home village near Baerlon and that she had gotten used to her small accepted’s room. But also that did not matter.


As if inspecting the rooms they had granted, she passed through them silently until she somehow came back to the main door. Rossa was now the only one still with her. Where was the accepted’s dress they would force her into? Where was the crowd of people jeering, asking if she really thought they would make one like her Aes Sedai? She was not able to force the urge down and opened the door leading outside. But beyond there was just an empty hallway. There was no one and certainly not the crowd of women she had expected. Slowly she closed it again.


Rossa was still there, and Aevy could not tell what the woman thought. She probably thought she had gone mad. “So… I am really Aes Sedai now?”

Rossa nodded slowly.

“I am a sister of the blue Ajah?”

She could tell Rossa nodded again, although her vision was blurring. Tears started to run down her meager cheeks.

“This is no dream?”

Dark brown curls, a bit darker and she would have thought them ebony, were slowly swaying from side to side to deny that question. But Aeveryn had only seen the first part of that motion. Somehow her vision shifted as if Rossa had suddenly become twice as tall. A moment after that she realized her knees had given in and she had crashed to the floor. The room reeled and she had to use one hand to not topple over entirely. Now she could feel that she had not eaten for too long, as if finally her body had decided to remind her she wasn‘t immortal. But not even that mattered. It would not matter if she was to die now. If it was to be over with her this moment, she would carry a grin on her face as they carried her to her grave.

“Thirty years… Thirty years have passed since I left my home in the hope to become an Aes Sedai. Thirty years of austerity, meekness and compliance. Thirty years of not knowing if it will ever end. And now it is over? Just like that?”


She kind of knew her question did not really make sense. The test of the one hundred weaves was hardly something to neglect. The ritual was hardly something to ignore. Like a beggar pleading to a noble lady for a copper to save him from starvation, Aeveryn’s hands seized Rossa’s skirts. She knew, since she was alone with the other woman, she had hardly made the impression of a female worth the honorific Sedai. She also knew the posture she was now assuming was her nearing the bottom of the pit of self-abasement. And yet she could not help it. It did not matter.


“Oh Rossa, you can not lie. The oaths bind you. Please, say it once more. Say that I am an Aes Sedai. Say I am really part of the blue Ajah. Say I am not dreaming. Say this is no cruel trick.”


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“Aeveryn, you’re creasing my new dress.”  Rossa’s hands gently but firmly took Aeveryn’s in hers and pulled her to her feet.  “It has been a trying day for you.  I’m not so far away from my own testing that I’ve forgotten what it was like.”  She looked the woman in her skittish blue eyes and then moved her hands to her shoulders.  “You are not dreaming, and this is definitely no cruel trick.  You are an Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah, and now you have to make your way to your new quarters.”  She fixed the newly raised Aes Sedai, her sister, with a stare that brooked no nonsense.  “Naked.”


The other woman’s face was a study in scarlet.  Rossa merely raised her eyebrows.  Any woman that had undertaken the test for the shawl would surely be above such notions of modesty.  Maybe it was the mention of being presented to the other Ajahs as the newest Blue Sister that was making her nervous.  She shifted her shawl in her crook of her arms.


“I’ll be right here with you.  Now, disrobe.  The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be finished.  I shall be right behind you.”  Smiling, Rossa held out her arms for the woman’s clothing. 

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Rossa’s words were calm and controlled, and in utter contrast to her frantic pleading. It was as if Rossa had slapped her. No, her calm answer was far more effective. It brought her to her senses. Someone thinking herself ready to be Aes Sedai did not act like that. Light, an accepted did not act like that. Not even most novices. She was deeply ashamed. She was mortified. She could feel her face had taken the colour of the deepest crimson. But not for having walk through the tower naked. She cared little about that. In fact, compared to how she just had acted, it did not matter at all. Rising she did not hesitate one moment to take her dress and shift off. Shoes and stockings followed, lastly complemented by her smallclothes. But just as Rossa wanted to take them off her, she did not let them go immediately.


“Rossa… I have been rather frantic about not being accepted into the Blue Ajah, as you know. I know this is no excuse, but I have not been able to sleep the two past nights and I could not eat for the same time…” It was an excuse, she knew, but at the same time it was the truth. She was bone weary, and her actions were mostly due to her utterly exhausted body failing her.


She lowered her head, still feeling utterly ashamed of herself. “I would be most pleased if you could keep what has just happened to yourself. I am sorry and I promise it will not happen again.”


Finally she let go of the bundle, the cool air making her naked, pitiful body shiver as she waited for Rossa’s reaction.



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Calmly, as though this were the most natural thing in the world, Rossa took the proffered bundle of clothing and held onto them as though they were the dearest reminder of her family.  In her hands, her cool fingers pressing only as hard as they needed to, Rossa effectively held Aeveryn’s past, and she would not damage or disdain that for all the tea in Shienar.  She would guard it until she could hand it back to Aeveryn when they arrived in the Blue Ajah Quarters, for memory. 


She smiled.  “Aeveryn, we shall now walk through the Tower.  We’ll walk relatively quickly so you can complete the traditional welcome, and then you and I are going to make sure you have something hot and filling to eat.”  She gave the bony figure an appraising look, conscious all of a sudden of her own curves.  Rossa had filled out a little since she had arrived as a hungry novice.  Her body had curves that looked proportionate to her height, but there were days she thought she still looked the hungry girl.  She was the spitting image of her mother.


Walking to the door, Rossa waited until Aeveryn started moving gingerly forward.  Anyone would have thought that the room were full of lustful men, the reluctance she showed.  A gentle hand on her shoulder brought the girl, the woman rather, to her senses and they began their promenade.  Each of the Ajahs saw the newest Blue sister and Rossa felt a stab of pride when she presented Aeveryn.  She told her little bits of the traditions she herself had been told when she was raised and was actually beginning to enjoy herself when they arrived together at the Blue Ajah Quarters.


“Welcome home sister, we have waited long for you.”  The row of expectant Blue-clad figures were all smiling, and Rossa felt a large stab of pride for the girl that had once comforted her in her own way while the floods of tears had washed over her.  They had waited longer than most for this one, but good things came to those that waited.


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Aeveryn realised she was ashamed, no matter what she had expected. But she could bear this shame, no matter if it was to last from this very day to the end of her life. She was Aes Sedai now. She was a sister of the blue Ajah. But that did not change the fact that her cheeks were heating whenever she came across anyone. She was ashamed of walking naked. Well she was nude apart from the shawl draped around her shoulders and the ring circling her finger. Those she would not forsake. Not ever. She tried to ignore the feeling of mortification as she walked as regal as she could manage, but she was all too aware of the missing layers of cloth to hide her pitiful body. Of course she was not as modest as some girls from Cairhien. But still this seemed to be an odd habit. And on top, she was surely amongst those most ugly to ever walk the halls unclad. Why did they have to see her like this? Or was this another form of punishment?  No, apparently everyone had to suffer the same. Well, for a woman as pretty as Rossa, the walk surely was not as mortifying. In the other’s presence the feeling she lacked any hint of curves intensified. With her near and looking so impressive, Aeveryn almost wished she too could be pretty and well shaped. Light, but she felt like a twig with skin stretched too tightly over bones that jutted out everywhere. She almost thought she could hear her bones rattle with every step she was taking. And the oaths settling in on her like garments made several sizes too small did not improve that feeling in the least.


Casting the other woman sidelong glances filled with envy for a moment she quickly recovered her composure. Her appearance did not matter. Her body did not matter. Nothing mattered. The only thing that was important was that she had been raised. She had been accepted. No one could take that any more from her. The rest she could manage.


Finally reaching the Blue Ajah’s quarters she was so surprised to see the number of women awaiting for her, that she forgot for a moment her modesty. And what they said to her nearly made her cry again with joy. Barely able to cling on to some resemblance of serenity she hugged more then thirty Aes Sedai, maybe fourty, many of which she had never seen before. Her biggest surprise was that most actually sounded sincerely pleased to welcome another sister to their Ajah.


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