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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Welcome to Tradition Central [ATTN: Dre]


Guest Estel
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The reds and golds of the autumn leaves seemed to complement the pine green fabric of Estel’s gown.  Having shed her usual blues in honour of the season, she walked through the garden, dead deciduous leaves crunching underfoot.  So deep into the woods as she was, the Aes Sedai didn’t even send the most disobedient of Novices to rake this far along a small footpath whose only destination was a small grove whose secret was shared with a bare handful in the Tower.

 

From Serena to Carise; Carise to Estel; Estel now to Dre.  It had become as sacred a place to Estel as it had been for her own mentor.  This was the place where she had come to cry hundreds of times.  Perhaps that was the reason for the melancholy that had taken her upon entering the woods.  Even so, for all the rough memories, even her apartments in the Tower took second place in her heart to the sort of coming home every walk here was.  The clearing, with its ivy-covered stone bench and gurgling book amid a tiny knot of wayward pines, was the incarnation of how the Blue perceived peace and tranquility.

 

Handing-off this secret to a mentee was nothing to be taken lightly.  Estel had taken each of her mentees, few as they were, to this spot to touch saidar for the first time.  Every time she watched a girl stare into the sapphire ring she used to focus their minds, she was reminded of touching the Source that first time so long ago with Carise at her side beaming over at her.  Light, she missed her mentor.  The only person she had ever been able to really talk to- even if she was a Red.

 

Estel brushed a few frail leaves from the bench before sitting down to the sound of the brook.  Closing her eyes and listening to the ethereal serenity of the place, she was able to hear Dre’s footsteps a long way off, crackling through the dead leaves.  Rather than stand up to greet her or even opening her eyes, the Blue Sister surrendered to saidar as she had her first trip here and let the closeness with her surroundings wash over her.  The gurgling music of the brook was clearer, the strands of her hair blown by the wind more pronounced and the scent of decomposing organic matter more pungent.  With saidar coursing through her she could tell exactly when Dre’s ability walked into the clearing and was hearing distance away.

 

“A beautiful place, don’t you agree?  And one with no small significance.  This is where I first touched saidar, where my mentor first touched saidar and where you will learn to touch the female half of the One Power.”

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Dre arrived back to her room after her morning helping in the kitchens and quickly washed and changed into a new dress.  Estel had told her that her first lesson in touching saidar would happen today after her morning chores, and she was eager for the meeting. Looking in the mirror she only gave her hair a lick and a promise with the brush before rushing off, being sure to pull it forward to hide the scar on her face as she passed by another group of novices. She couldn't help but feel jealous as they walked and laughed together. She still had no friends of her own among the novices and felt very alone.

 

Following the directions she'd been given she eventually found the overgrown path she'd been told of, and followed it. The leaves crunching under her feet sounded loud in the emptiness around her. Feeling anxious, not sure if she was really in the right place, she couldn't help but sigh and smile slightly as she sighted Estel sitting on a bench ahead. She walked up quietly, not wanting to disturb the Aes Sedei as she seemed to be resting with her eyes closed. Therefore she was quite startled when Estel spoke without open her eyes.

 

“A beautiful place, don’t you agree?  And one with no small significance.  This is where I first touched saidar, where my mentor first touched saidar and where you will learn to touch the female half of the One Power.”

 

Dre couldn't help but give an eager grin at this pronouncement, looking around her once more before speaking.

 

"Yes, it is very beautiful here. I've always loved trees and forests. They always seem so peaceful and serene. But," she continued, a note of hesitation creeping into her voice. "What if there was some kind of mistake? What if I fail in touching the source? I still have a hard time believing all this is happening."

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Chuckling, the terribly insecure part of Estel wanted to reach out with empathy and convince the child everything was alright and there were no mistakes.  The rest of the temperamental Blue wanted to shake Dre until she got stronger.  Unable to resort to either alternative, Estel instead simply laughed.  “How do you think I knew you were coming even with my eyes shut?  I can feel your ability even this far away from you.  As you work with the One Power and grow into your strength and ability with it, you’ll be able to sense the same around me.  Every female who can channel can sense when another with the ability is near and how strong she is.  When another woman is holding saidar, she will appear to glow and you will know exactly how much she is holding.

 

“Now,” Estel opened her eyes and patted a seat beside her on the bench “come sit.

 

“Before we begin, there is something I need to pound through your head.  After this lesson, you will for no reason whatsoever, channel or even hold the One Power while not in the presence of an Aes Sedai or Accepted.  Even when you are able to touch the saidar, you will not have the control or self-discipline you need to use it reliably.  The One Power is incredibly addictive and the more your draw into yourself, the more you will want.  Drawing too much of it can result in Burning yourself Out, which is to forever lose the ability to touch saidar, injuring yourself and those around you and possibly fatally.

 

“There are times when an Aes Sedai has committed a crime so heinous that the cruellest of punishments is needed: Severing.  While Burning Out is the accidental process of drawing too much of the One Power, Severing, or Stilling as it’s called in women and Gentling in men, is the actual act of forever cutting someone off from the ability to channel the One Power.  Stilling is an incredibly rare event and there are few enough Sisters to have incurred the penalty that it is possible to memorize each of their names, positions, Ajahs and crimes.  Which you will, of course, have to do before our next class.”  Estel handed Dre a scrap of paper.

 

“Moving on to the nature of the One Power.  The One Power is the power that drives the Wheel of Time which spins out the Pattern which is a culmination of the threads of our existences.  How each of our threads intertwines with one another’s forms the Pattern.  Now, there are certain people called ta’veren, Artur Hawkwing was one, who had the ability to actually shift the Pattern with the strength of their threads.

 

“But this is not the point of the lesson.  The One Power is split into two halves: saidar, which can be channelled by women, and saidin, Tainted by the Dark One’s counter-stroke against Lews Therin and the Hundred Companions and the half which can only be channelled by men.  The two together is what drives the Wheel.  “The One Power is also split up into Five Elements: Air, Water, Spirit, Earth and Fire.  Women are generally stronger in Air and Water while men are generally stronger in Earth and Fire, the Element of Spirit being found equally strong in either gender.

 

“Now this is all boring history and philosophy but before we move on do you have any questions?”

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Dre listened to Estel's lecture attentively, taking the paper she gave and scanning over it before tucking it into her pouch. She'd work on memorizing them tonight when she had less on her mind. Already her mind was spinning with all the information she was being given.

 

Burning out. Stilling.  The words seemed to echo through her mind, making her shiver. She had yet to even touch the True Source that she knew of, though she supposed upon thinking about it that she must have done so in the Mistress of Novice's office. The very idea still scared her, yet thrilled her at the same time.  Yet here were warnings of a danger she hadn't realized, and the thought of being cut off from the Power already scared her.

 

“Now this is all boring history and philosophy but before we move on do you have any questions?”

 

Dre couldn't help but giggle nervously at this question, and quickly clamped her hand over her mouth to stifle the sound.  Taking hold of herself, she removed her hand and finally spoke.

 

"Questions Estel?  Questions I have plenty of, but none that I think are important enough to ask at this time.  So no, no questions.  I'm ready to begin when you are."

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Glad to be able to skip to the most important part without having to wade through a heap of questions that would either be borderline obvious or else impossible to answer.  Besides, this lesson was supposed to be about embracing saidar, the rest could come later.  Light, she fervently hoped the girl wasn’t a Wilder- that would triple the difficulty of this mentee.  Inwardly, Estel winced at her own callousness and self-centredness.  One would think her own parallels with the girl would invoke empathy.

 

“Embracing saidar is entirely dependent on your ability to surrender to it.  Like a rosebud opening itself up to the sun’s rays, you must first surrender to the One Power and then open up your petals to embrace that warmth.  Another commonly used example is that of a riverbank which does not attempt to push the river along, but simply lets the water flow by, guiding it on its journey down the river.  If you have ever found yourself in a river and the current is too strong, it is better to just keep your head above water and let the current take you, rather than trying to fight your way across the river.

 

“Once again, I will remind you that the One Power is incredibly seductive.  The very nature of the saidar is bliss and when you first touch the Source do not take in anymore, simply hold it.

 

“Are you ready?”  Receiving a nervous nod in return, Estel continued.  “Now, close your eyes.  Envision that you are a rosebud.  You know every detail of yourself, every thorn on your stem, every enclosed petal.  You are the rosebud.  There isn’t anything but you, the rosebud.  It is dark but you can slowly feel the sun beating down on you.  You can feel the warmth caress your leaves and petals.  The warmth is life, soak it in.  Now, slowly open your petals so that each may experience the warmth of the sun.”

 

ooc: embrace or don't embrace Saidar and... *adopts glasses and clipboard* tell me about your feelings :P

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Dre took a seat on the leaf covered ground, smoothing her dress nervously, afraid at taking this first step yet also excited. Closing her eyes she did as Estel instructed her, picturing in her mind a perfect rosebud in vivid red and green, with small drops of dew clinging to the petals.

 

She could feel a light, a warmth of some kind, brushing the petals. She did like she'd been told, imagining herself opening up to that light. At first she felt a thrill as the warmth began to flow into her, but then she lost her concentration and the light went away. She could almost cry from frustration.

 

"I almost had it. I could feel it there, waiting.  Like light wanting to flow inside of me. But I lost it," Dre finished with a frown.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A dim glow momentarily engulfed her mentee and while the glow winked out of existance nearly as soon as it had come into it, the small, smug smile on Estel's face stuck.  The child inside her wanted to say "I told you so" but the tiny part of her brain that had accepted her Shawl and position as Aes Sedai smacked the child upside the head and told it to shut up.  "Any more doubts that you belong in that white dress?"  A sheepish shake of the head was Dre's reply.  "Excellent.  Try again... and again.  And Light help us we'll sit here until you've got this down."

 

Luckily, Dre conquered opening herself to saidar before Estel's stomach began growling too loud or her temper became too irritable.  "Tomorrow, meet me here an hour after noon.  And for Light's sake, don't try and practice unless you want to stand for your entire next lesson."

 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

 

A few crumbs, quickly brushed from the mossy seat of the bench, were the only evidence the Blue Sister had been here since before noon.  Hounded by various Sisters for various transgressions, Estel had escaped to the grove to think- or at least attempt to think.  The amount of debris floating down the brook attested to how productive that had been.

 

The crunching of leaves heralded the approach of Dre.  Scooting over on the bench to make room for her mentee, the Blue Sister gestured for the girl to sit.  "I take it you're settling in well?" she barely waited for the answer.  "Good.  Today we're actually- well, you, seeing as this is more like breathing to me, are going to actually learn how to use the One Power.  First off, embrace the Source.  Feel how addicting it is?  How you long to take more of it?  This is why Aes Sedai need iron self-control."  Somewhere along the lines Estel had skipped that part.  Controlled generally wasn't one of the popular adjectives used to describe her.

 

"Now, I want you to push the Source away.  Imagine a cloud covering the sun, cutting you off from most of the warmth of its rays."

 

ooc: your decision whether or not Dre will manage this first try.  You can have her take in too much of the Power if you want and NPC Estel Shielding her.

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Dre thought for a moment about Estel's instructions. She'd had nightmares all night about this.  All the fear and worry had bubbled up in her mind in the night and she kept seeing herself burnt out, or dying in some horrible surge of the power that tore her apart.

 

"I'm afraid, but I know I can't let that stop me.  I'll do my best Estel."

 

Closing her eyes she pictured the rosebud quickly and let the Power fill her. She opened her eyes for the first time while holding the Power and almost gasped aloud at how incredible the world looked with the Power flowing through her. She found herself wishing for more, and unconsciously she began to draw in more and more of the power, letting it fill her.  She felt the power prickling inside of her, a headache beginning to throb as the sweetness began to turn the pain.

 

She realized something was wrong and began to try as Estel has instructed, trying to push the Power away from her.

 

"Estel," she mumbled, barely able to form the worlds. "I think there... something...  Help!"

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  • 2 weeks later...

This was dangerous.  Despite the gathering strength of saidar flowing into her mentee, however, Estel remained calm.  If anyone else knew, she'd likely get a penance to last her the rest of her life, but the Blue was betting on quick enough reflexes and the power of fear to make a much more lasting impression than any number of threats ever would.  When Dre began to panic, she slammed the Shield in place.

 

Giving the girl a moment to calm down, Estel looked her in the eyes.  "I don't think any threat I could come up with could give you a better idea of just how adictive the One Power can be.  What happened there, should be warning enough to remind you your entire life.  Imagine that I had not been here to save you, what do you think would have happened?  Death?  Burned Out?  You don't have any concept for what Burning Out is like yet.  Every Aes Sedai here would die before being Severed.  The survival rate for women cut off from saidar is about one in five.

 

"With this in mind, I want you to try again."  Estel smiled reassuringly- or at least she hoped it was reassuring, she had little practice in that particular emotion.  "You want to do your brother proud?  Show him how brave you are and what you would have done to save him if you could."

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Dre felt the Shield slam into place and cut the flow of Power off from her. The strain of the Power, and then the shock of losing it so fast, caused Dre to collapse sideways onto the leaf strewn ground.  She gasped for breath, struggling to regain control of herself, and finally pushed herself back to a sitting position.

 

She listened guiltily at Estel's lecture, and she knew she'd deserved it. Even though it had been an accident, it never would have happened if she'd heeded Estel's warnings better.

 

"With this in mind, I want you to try again."  Estel smiled reassuringly at her, and Dre returned the smile. She knew her mentor had only her best interest in mind. "You want to do your brother proud?  Show him how brave you are and what you would have done to save him if you could."

 

Once again Dre settled herself down and imagined the rosebud in her mind, feeling the light upon it, and once more light the light flow into her.  This time she let her willpower remain strong.  As the Power flowed into her and filled her she managed to control the flow, until a calm pool of the Power filled her.  Then at Estel's guidance, pushed the Power from her until it was all gone.  She could still feel the light there, feel the connection to it, but she no linger held it.

 

"Well," she said, smiling hesitently. "I managed not to mess up that time at least.  I could truly feel it in me that time.  And I could feel what felt like differences in some parts of it. As if what was flowing into me was not all the same. It was very strange, but very fascinating."

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Estel smiled.  "Which segues perfectly into what I'm about to teach you.  Just like the One Power is seperated into a male and female half, saidar and saidin, it is also separated into five different Elements: Air, Water, Spirit, Fire and Earth- as I mentioned yesterday.  What you felt were the differences between each Element.  You will have differing affinities with each Element, for example, I am strong in Spirit and Air, less so with Water, weakest with Earth and Fire.  I cannot tell your strengths, you will have to discover that for yourself.

 

"Now, to channel, you need to be able to recognize all of these Elements and manipulate them into weaves.  Like a weaver will take each single thread, and pass it in and out of the other threads in the pattern," Estel mimed weaving a thread into a weave "you have to learn which patterns will produce which outcomes.  I can take a thread of Fire and twist it around and around itself to become a candle flame but if I weave a thread of Air in among the Fire, it warps and becomes a globe of light."  It was hard not to laugh at her mentee's obvious fascnination with the suddenly changing weave above her palm that seemingly jumped to life out of nowhere.  This was the most basic of weaves, just wait until the girl was manipulating weather or Healing, if she had any Talent for that sort of thing.

 

"I'm going to make a weave that will do nothing except demonstrate the different Elements.  It is a combination of all five and I want you to hold the Source and tell me which thread is of which Element.  You may pick apart the weave if you want, it will not hurt you, but do not attempt this with any other weave!  Doing so will cause the weave to collapse in on itself and can result in killing you and others or Severing yourself and other channellers around you.

 

"While not necessary, hand gestures may help you better visualise pulling the weave apart.  You will be able to discover your Elemental affinities by which ever threads are the easiest to manipulate."  Embracing saidar, Estel wove a column of all five Elements, twisted around each other in a seemingly unorganised pattern.  "Tell me what you're doing as you do it and any difficulties you may have."

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