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Arriving at the WT (Attn: Mot and Open)


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        Erekan thanked the captain who had been willing to take him up to Tar Valon. Grudgingly, he gave up the agreed fare for the trip. The price was scandalous, even after Erekan had somehow managed to make the price drop. Even if he was raised near the sea, he knew nothing about boats, except being able to have his way around without sicking up. But he had offered to protect the ship agains whatever threat it might face, and an extra sword was always good to take nowadays. Even if Erekan eventually didn't have to fight, the captain kept on the agreed price, and Erekan was thankful about that.


        Leaving the docks, he stared at the city. Oddly, the first that caught his notice wasn't the city itself but Dragonmount. He thoughtfully contemplated it for a few seconds, wondering where the Dragon would be now, and how life would have been different if he hadn't showed up in the Stone. No need for foolish thoughts. What was, was. And he had come here for a good reason. Letting these thoughts drift away, he entered the city itself. The Shining Walls of Tar Valon. Strange for him to realize that he actually was here, he never thought he would come here, in a place where he was likely to meet an Aes Sedai at every corner. Not even a year ago, he would have thought safe to keep miles between him and any Aes Sedai. But much had changed and he was a new man. Sailin Blanche was dead, and Erekan Galvenes was going to be a Warder, to cleanse the world from shadowspawn and darkfriends.


      I'm letting my mind drift again. He schooled himself, and tried to study the city. He had thought that Tear was the greatest city in the world, but he realized he was wrong. The city itself seemed to be shining from within, every building seemingly build to be in harmony with the others next to it. He realized the town was jammed with people when men carrying a sedan chair nearly bumped him. He dodged at the last moment, bringing upon himself a few curses from these men. Muttering to himself, he took the direction of the tower. Even if you didn't know the city, you could hardly miss it. He set a quick pace, remembering at last that he hadn't come here for sightseeing. He tried to ignore the Tower growing bigger and bigger in front of him, ignore the Ogier-build houses to focus on what was straight ahead of him. At least, he arrived to the one of the Tower gates, where two guards and an officer stood in faction.


        When they saw him heading to them, the officer moved a little forward.

-The Light shine on you, he said. What business do you have in the White Tower?

-The Light illumine your soul, Erekan answered. My name is Erekan Galvenes. And I wish to train as a Warder.

    And now this is it, you light forsaken fool. It all starts now...

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The sun was high above Tar Valon and the yards were filled with trainee’s and the occasional girl staring moon eyed. Normally Thera chased off novices and sisters alike but today she was in no mood. As she paced through the yards eyeing her trainee’s she could not help but wonder how many would make it to Tower Guards.


Seeing all the young faces she could not help but remember all the trainee’s that had disappeared in her early days in the tower.


Up and down the garden paths she paced, pausing now and then to lend a helping hand or to give a lazy trainee a friendly push. Her aimless wanderings found her near the front gates and she over heard a new young man’s arrival. Normally a trainee would have to wait to meet her, sometimes for hours at a time but today this young man was in luck. Thera was in the mood for a change of pace.


“Lieutenant” Thera nodded to the guards at the gate. “I will take this young man from here” She turned her deep penetrating eyes on the boy and took him in from head to toe. Thera nodded for the boy to follow her and did not turn back to see if her obeyed. She led him only a little ways into the Tower grounds before she rounded on him. “What’s your name boy? And why have you come?”


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The Guard had eyed him for what had seemed an eternity and when he was about to speak, a woman's voice coming from behind cut him off.


“Lieutenant, I will take this young man from here”. Erekan felt that the woman's gaze was penetrating him from head to toe and nearly shivered, but somehow managed to hold on. Then she motioned him to follow.


He was surprised to have been taken in so quickly. Maybe he was lucky for once. It was a nice change.


Erekan followed wordlessly. He was actually surprised to see that a woman would take charge of him and from the guards reaction, she seemed to be a Warder. But then, he had seen Aiel women fighting in the Stone and they were as deadly as Aiel men, if not more. So in the end, it didn't matter, as long as that woman could help him becoming a Warder.

Judging from the way she moved, he did not doubt she was a skilled fighter.


After she had led him only a little ways into the Tower grounds, she stopped and rounded on him.


“What’s your name boy? And why have you come?”


Boy? Erekan was certainly taken aback to be called that way, but tried to show no sign of it. After all, a Warder was supposed to master his emotions. Not very sure about how he managed doing that, he answered with his strong Tairen accent.

Let's get started, and don't let that bloody tongue of yours slip out, else it will be its last slip.


-My name is Erekan Galvenes. And I came here to become a Warder.


As she didn't answer, he supposed he was supposed to say more.


-I am... was a Defender of the Stone, in Tear. You probably know what happened there. The Dragon came with his Aiel and the Stone was taken. A few days later, trollocs attacked. I fought with all I had, but the result was just me being overwhelmed by trollocs. When I thought I was going to die, they were all blasted by the Dragon's channeling.


He lowered his voice, hoping that talking about the Dragon here would not draw unwanted attention on him.


-When everything was over, I took a few days to think. The Aiel had attacked, and I didn't manage to stop them. Trollocs came and the result was me getting nearly killed. The point I want to get at is... I'm weak. He said these last words bleakly, but that was simple truth.


Erekan took a deep breath before going on. He felt he was making a fool of himself, that she was going to kick him out of the Tower and that she would be right to do so.


-I'm weak but... I walk in the Light. He said these words a little too fervently, but it was too late to take them back. I want to fight for what is important, I want to help rid the world of Shadowspawn. I don't know of how much help I can be but I definately won't back down. I pledge my life to defeat the Shadow, and I think the best way to do it is to become a Warder. I certainly won't accomplish that in the Stone of Tear.


He finally stopped talking, meeting the woman's stare.


Boy? He certainly was. But he had come here to grow to manhood.

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Thera could only stare as the boy spilled what appeared to be, more than he intended. She was hard pressed not to laugh as he rambled on. He was nervous but Erekan seemed sincere.


“It is good that you walk in the Light Erekan, and it is very good that you know you are weak.” Thera stared the young man hard in the eyes; she wanted to drive her point home. “No matter your past experiences you are considered a beginner here, a child, someone who needs to be watched so that they do not hurt them selves, until such time that you are raised to the Tower Guards that will be your station. Is that something you can live with Erekan Galvenes?”


She did not expect him to turn back now but she wanted to be sure. Thera waited for his nod before allowing herself a small smile. “Welcome to the yards and to the White Tower. I am Thera Trakelyn, your Mistress of Trainee’s. I oversee all the young men and women in the yards.”

Thera gave a raucous laugh at the surprise on the boys face. “Do you find it odd for a woman to hold a position such as mine?”


When he did not answer she let it alone. Even if he did hold such notions he would learn them for false soon enough. Many women in these yards could best the men. "Come, I will show around your new home"

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Excellent, Erekan thought. Now you totally have made a fool of yourself.


First he babbled like a trainee of the Stone and then went wide eyed learning Thera was the mistress of Trainees.


Excellent... Well at last you're in, now.


Following Thera who was showing him around, he spotted trainees, tower guards and warders sparring. Seeing that, his hands somehow itched, but there was no time for that now. He would have the chance to train soon enough.


He did not know what to expect, but he surprisingly felt well, here.


"Yes, I am home" he said to himself.


These words made Thera turn back to stare at him, but he did not look at her. His eyes were intent on two Warders sparring -dancing was a better word, looking at how they worked the forms flawlessly- and a smile formed on his lips, the first sincere smile he had had for months.


"Yes", Erekan said again, looking at Thera, meeting her slightly surprised look. "I am home."

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The grounds of the Tower were vast and it would take many weeks before Erekan knew his way around but Thera gave him a head start. She showed him the hall where he would eat, the showers, the barracks, and the training yards. Those he seemed to find the most interesting of all. She could almost feel his eagerness to begin. The desire to learn was a must or you would not last a week in the Yards, but being too eager could be just as fatal. Thera noted that she would need to keep an eye on this one.


As they walked Thera explained the rules that guided a trainee’s life, and a little of what his first days would be. Her voice was serious but she did not mean any of it as a threat; only a simple statement of fact.


Thera turned and eyed the boy slightly askew. Yes, the tower was her home but it had taken years before it had felt that way to her. “home?” she muttered slightly. This boy must have come from something awful to already feel as if her were home. As he repeated his statement, more sure this time; Thera clapped him on the back. “That is good boy, the Tower is your home. ‘Tis a shame most don’t see it as quickly as you.” She led him on to the last place he needed to see.


“Here we are Erekan, my office. A place I hope you don’t have to visit too often after today.” Most trainees’ that frequented her office held a grudge that could last for years. Thera did not like to punish, but she knew the price if strict discipline was not instilled while they were still young. “Have a seat Erekan and we can begin.” Thera filled a mug from the still cold pitcher; a lightly spiced wine for herself and a cider for Erekan. “I know you have seem much in the last hour are their any questions that jump to mind before we move on?”

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Erekan welcomed Thera's clap on his back with a wince.


“That is good boy, the Tower is your home. ‘Tis a shame most don’t see it as quickly as you.”


Erekan felt there was something strange in what she said, but could not puzzle out what. Maybe it had to do with how she had said it. She led him to her office and filled him a mug of cider.


“I know you have seem much in the last hour are their any questions that jump to mind before we move on?"


He had many, actually. But some probably find their answers soon enough, or in time. How long would it take to become a Warder? What was he to do actually in the Tower?


He decided to ask only the most important question for him.

"Yes", he said. "I came here with a sword. Will I be allowed to keep it?"


That sword had been a gift from his grandfather when Erekan became a Defender of the Stone. It had no embroyed, jewels or anything fancy, but it was finely made and had saved his life. But most important, it was the only memory of the person he had the most loved in his life. He hoped his grandfather would be proud of him.

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