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James

Strength in weakness (Sial)

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Looking up at the sky, Lillian found her thoughts straying over the past week.  More requests over tasks that needed doing, research conducted so she could carry out said tasks with some idea of what was ahead, more arguments and debates amongst her fellow White Sisters.  Whenever she was present in the Tower, there were a number of sisters amongst her Ajah that would consistently challenge her over her interpretation of the Ajah and the manner in which she represented it, since there was no way for her to be ordered to behave in a manner that was 'deemed appropriate' except for the First Reasoner, and she would not do so because Lillian's view could not be completely undermined and swept aside.

 

Well, that and Lillian wouldn't have listened to such an order anyway.  She would only change the day that she was convinced that it was the right thing to do, and that day was not today.

 

Chances to train physically and to spar, to keep active, these were escapes for Lillian during the times she stayed at the Tower.  As it was, she had only two months left of her time, but that would have to be time enough to at least begin Sial's education in the One Power.  Darienna would take care of Sial while she was gone, Lillian was sure of that.  After all, the mentor wasn't to be so much the primary teacher as she was the one that Sial could come to when she needed someone.  That was something that she and Darienna could share, as would other Aes Sedai that Sial felt comfortable with as time passed.

 

But for now, she could simply relax as she waited for Sial to arrive.  Her ankles crossed and her hands behind her head, her blade lay in its sheathe beside her.  A simple longsword that was straight rather than curved, it was both thin and elegant and it had saved her life on enough occasions for her to hold a great deal of respect for it.  To think that she had once disdained the blade altogether, feeling that if she didn't have access to the power then she was already lost.  There were many occasions that could be true, but there were many more where it was also false.  There was also more to it than that, but the thought of what else it meant melted away before it could take shape.

 

What would Sial think of seeing her mentor in dark boots, white breeches and a matching shirt rather than her usual dresses?  Lillian smiled slightly at that thought as she closed her eyes, it was interesting to read her student.  Sial had an agile mind and a good memory, something that she concealed to a degree.  Lillian had done the same as a Novice, though the way in which she had done so was different.  Sial hid her ability through her manner and an apparent friendliness.  Lillian had buried her mind beneath perfect manner and poise, Aes Sedai had often seen obedience and emulation and left it at that.  A gift from her mentor in a way, Halvie had chipped away at her constantly and forced her to raise that shield around herself.

 

But then, Halvie had been a harsh mentor, and Lillian had to wonder whether she was even sane.  Paranoid, somewhat deluded, entirely unpleasant, it still hurt Lillian in many ways because she knew there was someone else underneath it, but Halvie had been too warped by her years and the inattention of others that she had become the shell of a person she was.  Not only had she taught Lillian how to maintain a perfect facade, she'd also shown Lillian what she might become if she didn't make a conscious effort to be otherwise.  A constant niggling sorepoint that could not entirely be buried, her inability to convince her mentor to open up and trust her, or that when she had needed Halvie the most she had turned her back on her.  But, there was nothing to be done about it now and it was not to be worried over, simply regretted.

 

Crunch...

 

Not moving as she heard someone step on the grass nearby, Lillian waited until it was close, perhaps a couple of feet behind her.  The slight scent that drifted from the woman confirmed Lillian's thoughts on who it was.  "Good afternoon Sial, I'm glad to see you have made it on time.  Come and sit down."

 

Smiling as she opened her eyes and sat up, Lillian turned to Sial who was already sitting down.  Crossing her legs, Lillian rested her hands on her knees as she spoke.  "Today, we are going to begin working with the One Power.  In previous lessons over the past month, we've discussed how the One Power is divided into saidin and saidar, male and female aspects.  We've spoken about the risks involved with saidar, the seductive nature of it and the need for self discipline.  To indulge is dangerous, and to over-indulge can kill or permanently cripple yourself or bring danger to those around you."

 

"Today, we will focus on training you to make contact with saidar itself, and for this there is a simple time worn mental exercise that we shall begin working on now."  Smiling gently at Sial, Lillian gestured to her face with one hand as she added.  "Close your eyes."

 

Resting her hand upon her knee once more as Sial complied, Lillian's voice was gentle yet firm as she spoke.  "Imagine within your mind a single rose, one that is enclosed and dormant.  From without, the sun shines upon the rose, its light surrounding the rose that remains closed to it.  You are the rose, saidar is the sun, the inner warmth that is at the edge of your consciousness.  Imagine that the rose unfurls, to welcome within the rapture of saidar and to receive its light.  Do not force it, do not fight it, you must yield and submit.  It is only through surrender that you may find victory."

 

Seeing the look of confusion upon Sial's face, Lillian chuckled.  "I understand that it sounds like a strange concept, but it is true nevertheless.  You are not fighting an opponent, you are welcoming a friend.  It wants to be a part of you, all you have to do is allow it to fill you.  It will not come easily, do not be surprised if you do not find success today, it takes some weeks and others months before they achieve their very first contact with the one power.  Like any muscle that see's no use, the ability to open to saidar is weak.  You must train it, build up its strength until you can do so at will within the space of a second."

 

"Begin."

 

 

Lillian Tremina

Sister of the White Ajah

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It was, Sial Daemoa decided as she headed toward the customary garden bench where she usually met with her mentor, a reflective sort of day. Not that she herself was a reflective sort of woman, that particular morning it had occoured to her how long she had been at the Tower. Months. Had someone told her a year ago that she would be taken away from everything she knew and plonked into what most saw as a dream or a fairytale, she would have (after the initial skepticism) expected to miss home a lot more than she did. She felt almost guilty that she wasnt pining for familiar faces. It was just that there wasnt time. She was, as a Novice, too busy to spend hours thinking about home and as a person, too independant to allow herself to be that affected.

 

Still, it was strange to think that home only occoured in her thoughts in passing, as comparisons. Perhaps it was because at some level, the dark haired Cairheinin girl still honestly believed that sooner or later the Tower would kick her out. Oh, she could play with the Power. Of course she could (and did frequently...it was shocking that no one had caught her yet.) But making feathers float and filling bowls with water were party tricks. Saying that, the Tower had taught her some things that would be useful in any aspect of life.

 

How long had it been since she had first sat on the exact bench she was heading to today? Sial wasnt sure but, as much as she loathed to admit it, she wasnt the same Sweeps Daughter that she had been those months ago. There were differences in her-slight but there. Surely thats just aging, not the Tower... But it wasnt just her character that had been tweaked. Sial looked slightly different now, more toned, more cynical. Her hair was very slightly longer and starting to need cutting and there was a hint-just a hint- of experience in her young eyes that had not been there before. In her current reflective mood, the scruffy Cairheinin woman felt a sense of repetition in going to the bench.

 

The Novice gave a start when she saw her mentor in what looked like a Warder costume, all deja vu vanishing. And with a sword. Oh, light, shes going to stab me! What did I do? Surely she hasnt found out about the itching powder I left in the stablehands boots-anyway, the silly man deserved it after leaving Coals stable dirty! Or perhaps thats what they do with useless Novices...stab them... To Sials relief, Lillian Sedai greeted her with her usual reserved, relaxed way as opposed to running her through. To her disquiet, the Aes Sedai kept the sword, like some sort of Domani Warrior heroine.

 

"Today, we are going to begin working with the One Power.  In previous lessons over the past month, we've discussed how the One Power is divided into saidin and saidar, male and female aspects.  We've spoken about the risks involved with saidar, the seductive nature of it and the need for self discipline.  To indulge is dangerous, and to over-indulge can kill or permanently cripple yourself or bring danger to those around you."

 

Sial knew that. The deja vu was returning and she was a little suspicious, not least because of the sword. Still, she listened and obeyed as she always did for Lillian.

 

"Today, we will focus on training you to make contact with saidar itself, and for this there is a simple time worn mental exercise that we shall begin working on now."  Smiling gently at Sial, Lillian gestured to her face with one hand as she added.  "Close your eyes. Imagine within your mind a single rose, one that is enclosed and dormant.  From without, the sun shines upon the rose, its light surrounding the rose that remains closed to it.  You are the rose, saidar is the sun, the inner warmth that is at the edge of your consciousness.  Imagine that the rose unfurls, to welcome within the rapture of saidar and to receive its light.  Do not force it, do not fight it, you must yield and submit.  It is only through surrender that you may find victory."

 

Now that really was deja vu. Sial was more suspicious than before. Her mentor had never been unfair but it would be in character for her to try and trip Sial up. She always seems to think Im too sure of myself or something, cant think why...what is she up to?

 

"I understand that it sounds like a strange concept, but it is true nevertheless.  You are not fighting an opponent, you are welcoming a friend.  It wants to be a part of you, all you have to do is allow it to fill you.  It will not come easily, do not be surprised if you do not find success today, it takes some weeks and others months before they achieve their very first contact with the one power.  Like any muscle that see's no use, the ability to open to saidar is weak.  You must train it, build up its strength until you can do so at will within the space of a second."

 

The Cairheinin was more than a little confused. It was like her first lesson with saidar. But with a sword. Although...she had been forgetting those Power fundementals recently. It was like learning to climb. Once you were used to it, you barely thought twice about it. It seemed almost strange to think of embracing the Power the rosebud way now. Perhaps that is the lesson...or perhaps not.

 

A horrible thought came to Sial. What if her mentor suspected that she had been using the Power unsupervised for all those months at night in her room? What if she suspected and was trying to make a point by going over the dangers over and over again? What if she was trying to put the Novice in her place by reminding her exactly how early lessons in the Power went? Or maybe Lillian was cracking up...nah, that wasnt too likely.

 

Never one to pass up an oppertunity, Sial embraced the Power. Then bit her lip, let it go and purposefully tried the age old rosebud excercise. She had always been rubbish at that and despite knowing that she could embrace the Power, it was a little bit harder doing it the newbie way but she was no newbie after all.

"Umm...Lillian Sedai? What should I do next?"

 

She rather wanted to ask what the point of this was but one of the lessons she had learned was that often her mentor had schemes she couldnt see. It was better to shut up and pay attention.

 

Sial Daemoa

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Silent as she observed the ease with which Sial embraced the one power, the fact that she released the power and then began to embrace once more spoke volumes.  She was further ahead in her studies than she should have been, the ease with which she had first found the source, then she had stopped and tried again.  Maybe Sial had just been naturally gifted at it, or perhaps there was another explanation to the answer that was far more likely.  She didn't know with complete certainty, but on the balance of probability the answer was apparent to Lillian.

 

"What you would normally have to do is explain yourself, but that can be left for another time I think."  Holding up her hand to still anything that Sial might have said, Lillian simply watched her for a moment until her student averted her gaze.  That was another lesson to be learned, sometimes it was better to be silent than to dig the hole deeper.  But she would, there was the natural talent there to be honed and that was the main thing.  She could make a fine sister, given the chance.

 

If they got through her most basic lessons first.

 

Still, every lesson and interaction was a chance for observation, something that Lillian was fairly sure that Sial would be able to appreciate.  Different ways to test her, but without the aggressive and paranoid bent that her mentor had wrought on her.  One of the best ways to test someone was silence, to watch, to observe, to let her student learn how to bear the silence and the look, to learn to be calm in the face of it.

 

But, that wasn't the only reason they were here.  Taking up her sword, Lillian managed to refrain from smiling as Sial's eyes jerked up to observe the blade within her peripheral vision.  Looking at the blade almost contemplatively, she reverse her grip on it so she held it by the blade rather than the pommel as she handed the blade to Sial.

 

Releasing the blade as Sial took the pommel, Lillian's face remained straight as the blade dipped before Sial corrected herself and saved it from touching the earth.  Instead, she waited a moment and allowed the girl to study the blade.  It was light for a longsword, its blade was narrow and light, it couldn't stand up to a heavier weapon but she wasn't of the habit of pitting herself against a opponents that bore that kind of weaponry, or any if she could avoid it.

 

But, the Wheel wove as it willed.

 

"Judging from the ease that you embraced the source, would it be fair to say that you've been learning how to identify and wield the different threads?  I would like you to show me what you know, and I would like you to use my blade as the focus with the exception of earth, and without damaging it mind you.  As for earth, use the ground between us.  Do only what you feel comfortable with doing though, seeing as you're so far ahead, we might do something further once we are done."

 

 

Lillian Tremina

Sister of the White Ajah

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"What you would normally have to do is explain yourself, but that can be left for another time I think." Sial tried not to gape but this time it was not because she thought Lillian had mysteriously chosen to ignore their lessons. A horrible thought had occoured to the Cairheinin. If the woman seems to know things she shouldnt, like how to irritate me, whats to say she doesnt know exactly what Ive been taught in the Tower? That was not a fun prospect. Ever since coming to the Tower all that time ago, Sial had been practicing with the One Power in her room. It was a miracle that she had not been caught but she had luck on her side; she had no roommate to tattle on her and the Tower was always brimming with saidar making her nothing to be noticed. Besides, without those illegal practice sessions, she would never, never, have made the progress she had. A certain incident involving a task with cracking rocks with Earth stuck out in her mind almost tangibly. Still, however useful it was, the fact remained that Novices (even Novices who were old on joining the Tower like herself) were not allowed to channel without Aes Sedai permission and breaking the rules was never seen as good.

 

So Sial was twitchier than would have been appropriate. She was, by nature, a tiny bit paranoid, perhaps, but this time she had good reason to be so. She knew she was a rule breaker-did her mentor?

 

Then, of course, there was the fact that the Domani Aes Sedai was waving a sword around.

 

Perhaps waving was an exaggeration. Still, Sial couldnt help getting a bit wide eyed as the other woman lifted the blade. Oh, Light, shes going to stab me! The short dark haired woman was not about to let herself look stupid just because of a sword. At the same time, though, she watched the sword come up. And then got yet another surprise as the Aes sedai handed it to her.

 

Sial had never held a sword before, not a proper one. Maerone had been slightly dodgy in parts but it was still a simple enough place for swords to be a rarity. oh, she had played at swords, of course she had. She had had a brother, after all. Somehow, though, hitting childhood friends with sticks was not quite on the same level as holding a real sword. It was pretty, and not as heavy as she expected, though a bit more odd to the hand.

 

"Judging from the ease that you embraced the source, would it be fair to say that you've been learning how to identify and wield the different threads?  I would like you to show me what you know, and I would like you to use my blade as the focus with the exception of earth, and without damaging it mind you.  As for earth, use the ground between us.  Do only what you feel comfortable with doing though, seeing as you're so far ahead, we might do something further once we are done."

 

Sial tried not to wince and kept her face straight. After all, Lillian had not actually said "Sial Daemoa! Youve been using Saidar without permission!"  There was still a marginal chance that she didnt know...

 

Putting that out of her head, Sial drew on the power. It was sweet as ever. Tentativly, she tried using the sword as a focus for a dribble. It didnt seem so bad...

 

Then she tried to add earth and the ground exploded. Clods of dirt scattered Sial and she almost dropped the sword. She steped back from the tiny pothole she had made in the ground, swearing under her breath.

 

"Lillian Sedai Im...I didnt mean to...Im sorry..."

 

Sial was bad with Earth. She disliked Earth. Why oh why did Earth have to be inthis task? Why not Fire? Or even Air?

 

The Novice haistily redrew on the other parts of the Power through the sword, as if she honestly thought her mentor wouldnt notice that she had, once again, mucked up.

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"There is no need to apologise, shh."

 

Smiling, even if she'd barely managed to erect an air shield in time to catch the flying dirt, Lillian knew what her student was like.  She pressured herself far too much and she was ambitious at the same time, it was why she did silly things like practice without supervision, something that she would remedy easily enough before their lessons were done.  But for now she wanted to focus on the moment, the here and now.

 

There here and now being Sial's performance with her threads.  The powers held together easily enough except for the earth.  Lillian didn't blame her, she'd required a full month of extra lessons ontop of her normal training before she'd been able to handle an earth thread, let alone actually use it for something.  Earth was her least favourite element, which was strange because she used it quite a bit for a number of weaves she employed.

 

Holding a hand out, Lillian smiled encouragingly as she said.  "Your other threads of power except earth are coming along well enough, my sword please?"

 

Taking it back, Lillian laid it across her lap once more as she continued.  "Now, the problem that I noticed with your earth is that its doing something that it shouldn't.  Earth does not explode by itself, you're using another thread with it strangely enough."

 

"I'm guessing you're doing it subconsciously, but there is an element of fire in the earth thread thats been woven in there.  You need to be able to use earth by itself, without feeding fire in it to help stabilise your control because it can have disastrous results when used for something larger than your attempt just then."

 

Reaching to the earth with one hand, it was an easy manipulation of the power to cause a small chunk of earth rise.  Plucking the top from it, Lillian held out her hand as she proceeded to demonstrate a new technique.  "Extend your senses into this clod of earth.  You should be able to find within it a fault like, all you need do is use earth to harden the earth around that line a little, making it more brittle and more likely to snap even though its harder technically."

 

"Use as many clods of earth as are needed until you can begin to manipulate that little fault line in every clod sent.  Try again, and I'm here to talk you through it if need be.  Remember, no shame in making a mistake or fault if it could have been averted, reasonably.  Even then, what is done is done, Wheel weaves as it wills."

 

"Again."

 

Lillian Tremina

Sister of the White Ajah

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Sial handed the sword back to her mentor, letting go of saidar as she did so. As always, she felt a pang of regret as she did. Life was sweet but the Power made it sweeter, as if she had been looking at the world through fog until she embraced the Power. The Novice had assumed that after so many months of practicing, legal and illegal, that faint sense of loss would become everyday but time did not make it easier. If anything, it made her want to hold the Power even tighter. That, her tutors had told her, was the danger of channelling but knowing that fact did not make it easier. Strangely, giving back the sword was not exactly straightforward either. She had never held a sword and certainly never channeled through one. It had been...odd...but not in a way that put her off wanting another go.

 

She was grateful to Lillian Sedai, though the womans mild praise made Sials cheeks pinken. She had always found her mentor encouraging, if infuriatingly clever, which was something to be commended after she had just made a pothole in the ground by accident. The Sister made a point that made Sials ears sharpen."Now, the problem that I noticed with your earth is that its doing something that it shouldn't.  Earth does not explode by itself, you're using another thread with it strangely enough. I'm guessing you're doing it subconsciously, but there is an element of fire in the earth thread thats been woven in there.  You need to be able to use earth by itself, without feeding fire in it to help stabilise your control because it can have disastrous results when used for something larger than your attempt just then." Sial blinked at Lillians words. How am I bloody using Fire by accident? Thats insane! The power takes thought, you cant just bleeding zap things by mistake... Another voice in Sials head quietly suggested that it made sense despite her own mental protests. After all, she had problems with Earth. Oh, she could do the little things, little tricks with the Power that her teachers told her to do, but they always took more effort, more practice than other tricks. She was quick to learn with things that didnt involve Earth...especially Fire and Air. Ah. So maybe Lillian was right...

 

She embraced the Power once more and watched as her mentor demonstrated and explained. She felt a sting of envy at the way Lillian Sedai seemed to make it look so easy but she stamped on it. "Extend your senses into this clod of earth.  You should be able to find within it a fault like, all you need do is use earth to harden the earth around that line a little, making it more brittle and more likely to snap even though its harder technically. Use as many clods of earth as are needed until you can begin to manipulate that little fault line in every clod sent.  Try again, and I'm here to talk you through it if need be.  Remember, no shame in making a mistake or fault if it could have been averted, reasonably.  Even then, what is done is done, Wheel weaves as it wills. Again."

 

Again, a little wistful bubble of envy bubbled up in the dark-plaited Cairheinin. Not so much of Lillian herself-though she did secretly admire the Aes Sedai-but of what she could do. For the first time, Sial found herself wanting to...what? I cant be an Aes Sedai. Dont be ridiculous, Sial Daemoa. Dont be a bloody fool. Im a steeplejacks daughter. Im a Readers assistant. I used to work in an Inn, for Lights sake! What am I doing here? What have I been bloody doing for all these months?! Who are these people kidding? Im not an Aes Sedai and I never will be. Eqwina Sedai made a mistake. She should have left me to fail at life in Maerone, rather than bringing me here to fail worse.

 

The Novice chewed on a nail, twining her plait-end between her fingers, before she caught herself and firmly put her figiting hands behind her back. She kept her face neutral to an extent but there was a tightness to her jaw and her eyes were marginally brighter than usual. Drawing in a little more of the Power-just a little more-she tried to stop listening to herself and start doing what she was meant to.

 

She reached out very slightly with her senses. Little less than a year ago, that would have seemed odd, reaching out with senses, but with the Power it was as natrual as breathing and as straightforward as reaching out with an arm. Or with that Sword. Her eyes drifted to the sword...No! Pay attention, woman! Stop diverting. Sial tried again. She could see Lillians Weave around the clod, keeping it up, and was halfway to poking it with a wisp of Spirit before she remembered that that wasnt even slightly part of the task and stopped. Even Lillian was sure to have limits and she didnt want to push her luck too far.

 

Once more, Sial extended her senses to the clod. She felt nothing, just...clay. This is stupid...Im not going to be abl-wait! She had found something. Like clay again but different clay. Marginally flimsier, like fresh dug soil rather than trampled dirt. "I think Ive got it..." Uncoinciously slightly biting her lip, she prodded the clod with her mind. Yes, it was there. Now came the tricky part. Urg. Earth. Why was Earth so horribly horrible? It was an ever dropping spiral, really. Sial was bad with the power (or, at least, she thought she was) so she practiced when she shouldnt except she was so bad with Earth that she didnt practice with it to avoid detection, which lead to her advancing further with the other parts of the Power which made her seem even worse with Earth which made her more reluctant to use it at all, which meant she didnt get any better, which meant she was even further reluctant to use Earth. It was an issue and one that she would have to overcome or live with. How do I harden earth? Add Earth? Wouldnt it be easier to bake it with Fire or add Air bubbles to weaken it or make it soggy with Water or-no, Im going to do this properly. So she did.

 

That is she tried. However, the wisp of Earth she wove was so pitiful that she didnt think she could feel the faultline changing at all. It was frustrating and the little Cairheinin couldnt keep a scowl off her face or the hint of distress out of her eyes. She drew more Power and tried again but the Earth she wove seemed just as feeble. The clod fault was harder. Bah! its rubbish! Its not even slightly better! Again, she tried. Oh, how she tried. Earth, however, was not her friend and that earth clod hovered on Lillians weaving, mocking her. Sial tried almost as hard as she could in frustration, drawing more of the Power until it almost hurt, then sent out Earth again. Perhaps her frustration limited her abilities or perhaps she was as hopeless as she thought but either way the clod stayed in one piece.

 

Sial was angry now. Her hands were still behind her back but had balled into fists, fingernails gouging her palm until capillaries started oozing. Fire somehow found its way into her Earth, just as Lillian had said had been happening. Of course, that wasnt what was meant to happen.

 

Which lead to the clod exploding in a tiny shower of rock and dirt and blue fire.

 

Sials smokey eyes stayed fixed on the spot where the clod had been. I tried. I bloody tried as hard as I bloody could and I still...I still bloody, bleeding, trollocing-The Novices native emotional reserve trembled. She had tried. She had tried. Sial did not cry. She scorned weepy people. Yet she couldnt help her eyes starting to glisten. She scowled harder, glaring at the spot where the clod had been.

 

"I-" her voice squeaked and trembled with that single syllable. She gritted her teeth and swallowed. Bloody idiot, get a grip. Or do a runner. Jump on Coal and run home. Except then you'll have proved them right. They knew you were the flighty failure, didnt they? Else why did they give your brother a share in the family business and let you do whatever you bloody wanted? Feircly scrubbing her eyes with a knuckle, she imitated Lillians weave  to lift a fresh clod of Earth from the ground. Except this attempt was no better. If anything, it was worse. Sial sat down on her knees there where she was standing. She released saidar and frowned at the floor. When she spoke, her voice was as steady and calm as she could make it, which was to say perhaps not as much as she would like. "What am I doing wrong?"Blood and ashes, Im not bleeding going to break down like some noble milksop! Id rather open a vien with that trollocing sword!

 

Sial

Struggling

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Ooc: Don't mind me; just a temporary vessel posting for James [on LoA], who expended a great deal of effort completing this using his X-box controller due to a malfunctioning computer. And I suppose Sam deserves a mention too... ;)

 

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The rising upset in Sial was plain for Lillian to both see and hear.  It was not some foreign concept or feeling for her, she herself had once been in Sial's position.  Decades may have dulled her memory, but she could still recall her frustration with the earth element.  Her own mentor had shown nothing but disappointment at her failure, she would not treat her own student so.

 

 

Especially when the problem lay not in weakness nor laziness.

 

 

"It isn't what you would think".  Smiling reassuringly as she shuffled closer to Sial, Lillian took the girl's nearest hand in her own and squeezed it gently.  "It isn't because you aren't trying hard enough, in fact, it is because you are trying too hard". That had Sial's attention, and now Lillian would make use of it. 

 

 

"You've overpracticed enough that you've ingrained your fire use subconciously as a crutch.  That is one of the dangers of pushing yourself too quickly".  Another hint at Sial's illicit activities.

 

 

"Sometimes one should know when to be patient and, when necessary, know when to take a step back so they may take two steps forward".  Lillian doubted that Sial would know where this was about to go, but it was for her own good.

 

 

 

"For the next tenday you are forbidden to embrace the source".  The look on Sial's face betrayed surprise and more, but Lillian simply forged on.  "If you embrace it for even a moment, I will find out and your week shall begin anew.  Once it is done, we shall re-examine your earth weaving and you shall have the fresh eyes necessary to do so, eyes unclouded of frustration".

 

 

Taking her blade, she got to her feet as she added.  "Your other classes involving saidar are cancelled and other tasks shall replace them.  And when we renew your training, you will not resume your private self improvement sessions".

 

 

Pausing for effect, Lillian's countenance softened.  "If you wish to study beyond the curriculum, you may come and find me so I can at least supervise you.  If you burn out, you not only harm yourself but put others at risk.  When someone burns out they also lose control and anything can happen".

 

 

"Think about that during the week, and on my offer.  I'll see you at dinner tonight".  At that, Lillian left Sial's company.  There was still plenty to do before the day was done and it gave Sial time to gather herself.  Lillian was her teacher, not her mother, and she doubted that Sial would appreciate her acting like one.

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OOC: heh heh, much appreciated! ;D BIC:

---------------

 

Sial was not one for physical contact but she didnt pull away from Lillian as her mentor kindly tok her hand and talked as pleasently as ever to her. "It isn't what you would think.  It isn't because you aren't trying hard enough, in fact, it is because you are trying too hard". That got Sials attention and she looked up sharply. Trying too hard? How can you try too hard? If it was the case though, then maybe she wasnt entirely useless...

 

"You've overpracticed enough that you've ingrained your fire use subconciously as a crutch," Lillian continued almost conversationally. "That is one of the dangers of pushing yourself too quickly. Sometimes one should know when to be patient and, when necessary, know when to take a step back so they may take two steps forward". There was enough evidence, now, for Sial to stop kidding herself that Lillian did not know what she had been up to for the past months. Her mentor wasnt stupid. She knew. They Light only knew how she knew, but she did. The Cairheinin found her eyes flickering toward that sword again. Technically Darienna Sedai was in charge of Novice punishments but that didnt mean other Aes Sedai, and even Accepted, could dish out punishments. Whats more, practicing without supervision deserved a major punishment...Sial tore her eyes from the sword. Lillian was Aes Sedai, she hardly needed metal to help her punish if she wanted to.

 

"For the next tenday you are forbidden to embrace the source".  Sial couldnt help it. She gaped. Was that the punishment? She opened her mouth to start objecting or pleading or trying to defend herself; she wasnt sure exactly which. She didnt get a chance to find out either because Lillian Sedai just carried on. "If you embrace it for even a moment, I will find out and your week shall begin anew.  Once it is done, we shall re-examine your earth weaving and you shall have the fresh eyes necessary to do so, eyes unclouded of frustration. Your other classes involving saidar are cancelled and other tasks shall replace them.  And when we renew your training, you will not resume your private self improvement sessions".

 

Ouch. Sial found herself wondering if Lillian had ever been in a fistfight; she certainly knew the basics. 'Bam, I know what youve been doing. Bam, no saidar for you. Bam, I know all, mwahahaaaa.' Lull them into a sense of security, then kick them when they are down. The Novice felt mentally winded. And her mentor wasnt done yet. Standing and picking up her sword (Light, Im buggered now, shes going to spit me!)  Lillian continued, though a little less sternly. "If you wish to study beyond the curriculum, you may come and find me so I can at least supervise you.  If you burn out, you not only harm yourself but put others at risk.  When someone burns out they also lose control and anything can happen. Think about that during the week, and on my offer.  I'll see you at dinner tonight."

 

With that, Lillian walked away, every inch an Aes Sedai, leaving Sial a trembling wreck.

 

The Novice sat there for a moment, stunned. For a good few minutes, the only thought she could keep hold of way that there was still a pothole in the ground.

 

Sial Daemoa, however, was not one to stay down when she tripped. Brushing her wrist over her eyes to dissapate the unshed tears, she smoothed her creased white skirts and stood up on wobbling legs. She had been outmanouvered, that was plain. She had tried to push her luck and she had reaped the consequences. Not as bad as they could have been, perhaps. Then again, she couldnt help feeling that perhaps a beating from Darienna would have been preferable than dealing with Lillian. Darienna was clever and had a wicked sense of humour but at least punishment from the Mistress of Novices was straightforward, if often ironic. Lillians punishment could hardly be called a punishment at all and that made it worse. Punishment from Darienna was like being walloped by your great-uncle and his walking stick; punishment from Lillian was more like someone who had known you from childhood looking at you wih dissapointment. The Novice had no idea if the White Sister had done what she did on purpose or by accident but either way, it had made her squirm more than a beating or a screaming match would have done.

 

Sial sat down heavily on the bench with one leg under her and thought. Her mentor was giving her help and regardless of how much it would make her squirm, she was going to take it. She had been an assistant to the Maerone reader and the woman had once told her that to relocate a displaced shoulder, you had to hurt your patient for the greater good. Light, not chanelling for 10 days...what will I do then? Bloody chores, obviously, but what else? Getting up and prodding the soil over the pothole, Sial frowned to herself. One thing was for certain; she wouldnt be channeling unsupervised in a hurry.

 

Sial

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