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Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade!


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OOC: For Syara, Saline and Rossa. :D


The first day of a new month. It meant fresh starts, new experiences, many unexplored possibilities. And today, it meant a new garden. Lying in her bed, Vera smiled. She felt strangely…determined as if what she wished to do she would, very surefooted and honestly, unlike herself. And yet, she was enjoying the sensation. For a few moments she continued to lie in the cot, letting pale rays of light settle contentedly on her face as she herself continued to ponder and imagine. Wistful things she pictured. Elaborate things she thought of. They were not impossible though, she found herself thinking as she sprang up. Immediately she moved towards the little window in her room, a small circular thing that usually let in light just enough to wake her. Gently smoothing out the mist from the window, Vera peered down, deep into the currently seeming very “miniscule†gardens of the Tower. Wistful thinking, this was not, she told herself again. A cheerful smile lighting up her face, Vera gracefully slipped out of her room, bathed and more enthusiastic than even before. Humming a tune to a famous song, she moved towards the Novices Quarters’, nodding and curtseying and smiling as she went. Happy Day, you be mine, let me clutch thee, let thee be fine…Of course it would work out. How could it possibly not?


Upon having made her way to the Quarters, she continued straight until finally, she came to a final abrupt stop. Gently she opened the door and looked inwards, to see whether Rossa Venye had risen as yet. Sleeping like a baby, she thought as she looked upon the Novice, who had curled up tightly underneath the blanket. Silently she went and sat near her bed, gently shaking her. “Rossa,†she said softly, “wake up. We have to go work on the garden today.†Murmuring in her sleep, the girl stirred and turned towards Vera. “I need you downstairs at the garden in five minutes. Get ready.†With that she swept out of the room, roving eyes looking through the gathering Novices for the right girls to ask. And there they were, she thought with a smile. Two girls stood beside each other, talking happily to each other. Soon enough, one of them caught her eye and nudging the other made her way to Vera.


“Do you need our help, Accepted?â€


“Yes I do. I need the two of you to be down in the gardens in about five minutes....â€Quickly she explained where they were to find her and told them vaguely what they would be doing. “My name by the way, is Vera. What are your names?â€


Nodding once she heard their names, she said dismissively, “Very well, I’ll see you downstairs in five minutes,†and smoothly left the two, gliding away in what could only be called an “elegant hurryâ€. She was not really in a hurry, she realized thoughtfully, but, being in a hurry made her feel so awfully important! Grinning, she continued to sweep through the stairways, ignoring the curious looks she was getting. This was either going to be a terrible mess, she realized, or a lovely success.


OOC: Have all your characters reach the spot. Its currently a little corner in the gardens, quite untouched and wild and sadly, unappealingly so. The flowers are very small and mostly buds. There is no pond nearby. An old creaking apple tree’s nearby. Vera’ll turn up once you’ve all posted!


Have fun! ;)

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Running, feeling the wind whipping her hair behind her without a care in the world other than getting home in time for the evening meal, hearing the sound of birds in distant trees from the groves of trees nearby, Rossa felt at home. Contentment. So rested, she was never tired here, and she marvelled at the soft texture of her hands unused to hard work as they were. It seemed as though each time a foot went into the deep grass; the green shoots curled around it, smelling as though in deep midsummer and exuding memories of happier times. Faint hints of smoke from somewhere wafted over to her as she ran home, thinking that the farmers must have started early on their harvest and were burning the stubble now, never believing that when she crested the next hill her eyes would fall on a very different state of burning ruination…


A hand on her shoulder startled her, shaking her insistently to rouse her from her blankets. Dark eyes opened to see the banded dress of an Accepted, not really focussing yet, until the older girl explained that she was needed to work on her garden, and would have to be up, dressed and ready to begin work in five minutes. That woke her up. Just as quickly as she had arrived, the Accepted had gone, leaving Rossa to ponder what might have happened in the dream… nightmare… if she had stayed asleep for a few moments longer. Bizarrely, she felt happier leaving with the pleasant memories of her home still being there and not a burnt out shell pierced by her loved ones’ screams, and for the first time since she had arrived, Rossa felt a tiny bit happier. She dressed quickly, splashing some water onto her face and making sure her hair was neat. There was no time for any more than that, really. Fastening the pouch with her precious wooden keepsakes in around her waist, Rossa left the small room in the Novice’s quarters and headed for the gardens.


It was the dawning of a fine day, very clear if slightly cold to Rossa’s mind, used as it was to the warmer climes of Altara. The cool morning breeze went straight through the relatively thin fabric of her white dress and settled into her, yet one look at the sky and somehow she knew it would be warmer later and therefore likely grateful she had not worn more. The occasional Aes Sedai glided past, and Accepted, and Rossa curtsied to all of them on her way; trying, even in her hasty fashion, to maintain the correct boundaries of rank and propriety even though it rankled constantly curtseying to everyone when she had been used to the reverse. Eventually though, the procession of people dwindled, and Rossa was able to get to the corner of the gardens that her overseer this morning had mentioned. Compared to the rest of the White Tower gardens, it seemed almost… wild… in comparison; even though it was still landscaped the beds needed tending. A tree, ancient and proud as the Tower itself, occupied a part of it; year after year giving fruit back to those that cared for it. The first one here, after all her hurrying and forgetting to eat breakfast so as to not let an Accepted down, Rossa had been the first to arrive.

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Guest Kaile

Syara woke as always, before Saline. She seemed to think that sleeping in till all hours of the morning would get her classes done for her. Getting out of her small rickety bed she nudged Saline before getting dressed. It was the first day of the new month, and Syara was feeling a whole lot better than she had last night. She had thought that becoming a Novice would mean no chores, but she had been sadly mistaken. On top of cleaning the scum filled pots she had almost been sent to the Mistress of Novices last night by that foul woman who ran the kitchens. Always at them with her ladle and her never ending tongue lashings. It was a wonder none of the Novices had ever physically attacked her.


Combing her fiery red hair back into place Syara sighed contentedly at the thought of a free day. Her plan was to drag Saline off to the gardens and have a picnic. Then after that maybe a side trip to the Warders training yards..secretly of course. Her rump still smarted at the thought of what had happened the last time she had gone. Putting her comb down she found Saline just putting on her dress. Almost as white as Syara's, although she did see what looked like the shadow of a grease stain.


"I hope your ready for some fun Saline, I intend to find you a handsome young Warder trainee by the end of the day."


Grinning widely Syara didn't wait for a reply, instead she handed Saline the comb, shoved the door open and strode out into the hall. Novices were milling everywhere, most seemed excited by the free day. Although it was easy to spot the ones who had punishments to atone for. Saline appeared sans comb, wearing a slight frown she pushed her way through the hubbub to Syara. Saline always took things a little to seriously and Syara saw it as her job to lighten her up. Honestly, she seemed to take jokes as personal insults sometimes. At least she got along with Syara better than everyone else. Directing only weary looks her way rather than glares when she teased Saline.


"Come now Saline, it is a free day. Save the frowns for tomorrow."


Saline responded with a small smile. After a few moments devoted to discussing their plans for the day Salines smile had grown into a laugh. Giggling along with her it took Syara a few moments to notice the Accepted looking their way. So much for a trip to the yards. Nudging Saline she headed over to the Accepted who was waiting with a tiny smile playing over her lips as she regarded them.


"Do you need our help, Accepted?"


Syara's mood slipped a little as the Accepted - called Vera - informed them that they would spend the day gardening. Well, at least we still get to go to the Gardens.


“Very well, I’ll see you downstairs in five minutes,â€


Ignoring their slightly late curtseys Vera swept away, looking for all the world like an Aes Sedai except for the white banded dress.


"I guess we don't get to eat just yet. Well lets get on with it then."


Moving past the Novices Syara and Saline chatted quietly as they made their way down to the gardens, stopping to curtsey to the few Aes Sedai and Accepted they saw.


Upon reaching the gardens Syara groaned again. Unlike the rest of this part of the gardens the section they had been told to find was a right mess. The few flowers were small and unruly. No chance of finishing this by lunch time then I suppose. A very old apple tree overlooked the desolate stretch of garden. Standing under the tree stood another Novice.


"I guess your here to help with the gardening as well. My name is Syara by the way."


As Saline introduced herself as well Syara sat down under the apple tree. Looking upwards she smiled, the suns rays were already warming the garden. It would be a beautiful day, and regardless of gardening she wouldn't want to spend it anywhere else.


~Syara Peron~

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Some teeth were broken on the ivory that lay dormant upon her soap wrinkled palms, but it had not been the other who had inflicted the pain that rendered into fallacy, nor was the deprecated state of the comb what brought what she salvaged from the wreckages of the planks associated with its fallen comrades. No, she struggled to eradicate the doubts of what could have been possible, the decisions she made that would have prevented the irrevocable damages, what comforts of the seamless pieces torturing her – a jigsaw lacking a peace of mind – and the silence replies to her waning expectations. More and more infrequently did she have the solitude to assess the perspective deterioration, for the present intrusions kept distracting her, and she found the various diversions confusing, frustrating, yet always worthwhile if merely because the oncoming pressure staunched the soft scabs which inundated her when scratched at leisure.


It was always startling to find the scarlet strands gleaming upon its blunted flatness, disturbing the quiet where once entangled the burnish golden shades, layers deeper than her pale honey. Whitened knuckles loosened in a v-shape instead of the preceding hammer grip that enclosed the worn handle, warm still from use. Saline brought her arm forward, and the smoothness to the motion soothed the slender Novice. With each stroke she scrubbed the memories, diluting the sins so far, yet the stains close as the following heart beat. A paradox to be put aside temporarily, for there was something she must see to.


That something regarded her current roommate. Syara Peron was assigned to her last month, and last night had actually marked the beginning of their second month together. The moon appeared ugly as her bitterness last night. Syara’s mood had not been much better, and she feared they exchanged some harsh words as a result of these. As she wrapped her bedding tightly into a tube she was already regretting her letting her temper go down on the sun but she remained silent, indulging in sullenness.


No words in apology were needed however, with the creak that woke her up as surely as once upon the past, her other roommates had woken her up, albeit her predecessors employed tactics less subtle. She ignored the sounds that accompanied Syara’s padding to the other end of their room and surveyed the dull red inside her closed lids instead. So the sun was up already. Funny, one could not have told from the chill.


Twin pools of brown murky with transience watched Syara stiffen as if it was her bottom that was suddenly pinched. Disconcertingly she noted the surreptitious movement, too slight except to this one who at the other end of her mischievous roommate’s schemes, and the tender consequences of these actions. Her eyes narrowed. Why did she always get paired with the troublesome fun loving dolls for her roommates? The feisty redheaded Novice bound to contaminate everything with her bubbling well of youth and exuberance ... Popular, friendly: she forgives my faults and wants my company. The thought registered. For the first time in a long time, she returned a smile. The wry twist about Saline’s lips pleased Syara, who threw the comb at the Taraboner, and sparked off a slew of memories. Mainly due to Syara having no shame. We get along better though I am a woman and one of the oldest Novices around, while this girl is really incredible. I’ve gotten so accustomed to Novices in class who don’t like me that I am unfamiliar how to react to kindness and sincerity. No fights over her handkerchief anyway, but then again she hadn’t told Syara her background. She reckoned it was best to remain private, for a while longer at least, though she missed him dreadfully.


Saline’s forte was tardiness, not neatness. Having hung up the dress last night the creases were mostly out but it was not immaculate. Every article, the dress, this comb, reminds me of myself. With my hair, I am decidedly unbecoming in white. Well, she couldn’t help the colour of her garb but she is acquainted with a shop near the docks that frames curls really well. Perhaps she should forget about the beads that makes her look washed out every morning and simply get her hair cropped. She blew out a heavy sigh at the sight of Syara’s twinkling eyes, and resolved not to meet them as the Novice continued, her words velvet rich with merriment. "I hope you’re ready for some fun Saline, I intend to find you a handsome young Warder trainee by the end of the day."


Luckily Syara left before the dark fluster came over the Taraboner, and roses bloomed upon her cheeks abruptly, as if she was abed with a blazing fever. Saline bit her lips until the metallic taste came. Outside Syara was waiting for her. Could she have known about the chicken prank they played on Accepted Estel, wait - Estel Sedai now, from that trainee Throm? Or the other trainees who knew about their plan to disguise themselves in order to escape from the Tower, they surely told somebody? Tentatively she gazed into the other’s brightened stare, but beheld no suspicions which coloured her own. Ashamed by the other’s trust and basic goodness, she ducked and avoided looking in her roommate’s direction. Just because I am disillusioned about reality does not mean I have to feel paranoid.


Determined, Syara asserted. "Come now Saline, it is a free day. Save the frowns for tomorrow."


The pale head swiveled, and her mouth, a closed rosebud normally, formed a smile that reflected her amusement at being told that she was economic with her frowns. Faintly curious what the other had in mind, she eased into conversation with – “You know, I’ve always wondered how strange it is that we call the moon new when the moon appears to me the only one always having to repeat the same cycles, akin to our lives that we keep referring to the wheel, and with all our plots to be self-reliant we are interwoven, and interdependent upon the other threads, so that even if we’re tweaked we’re influenced by all that is around us. The poor moon, doomed to go through the perfect hell, never having a self, or a life belonging to anything other than destiny, fate, reflecting its design upon us mirrors, or shadows... On the other hand, changes do happen. The only beginning that does not change is death, and with every beginning there is opportunity for change. Though things will never go back to a certain reference in life, well all I want to say is, thank you. Last new moon we met -â€


Saline stopped rambling. Instead, she threw back her head, allowing that laugh past her lips. The pert Novice struck a pose, and her confident expression said it all. “Right, that was when I came into your life. So with me here, changes will happen. Now what are we doing with our free day?†Liquors of time, she dropped her guarded formality that weapon the Noblewoman shielded before being exiled, may increase the desire to be aloof and cold but it definitely cannot decrease performance like my roommate can. Clutching the other’s arm, she dropped her inhibition, blissfully enchanted by the other’s marvelous nature. “That was the most I’ve talked in years!â€


They met up with an Accepted down to the kitchens. Saline’s soaring spirits fell. No sooner had she decided the direction of her course, did somebody else commandeer her into other toils. Consternation, indeed!


Smoothing her dress where both her fists clumped new wrinkles, she sensed Syara’s disappointment as the dialogue faded. The other was thoughtful, and in rapid but sure steps, they paid no mind to any happenings about the Halls on the way to the bit of Gardens the directions given delineated, pausing briefly only to make their curtsies, deep with respect, for the Aes Sedai and Accepted gliding by, still they weren’t the first to arrive. Shy with strangers, especially fellow Novices, Saline froze as the other bounced up to introduce herself.


She hid what she flipped out of her ‘improved and sewn’ sleeve with her other hand as best as she could. The Taraboner didn’t think the others saw the glint of her blade.


Circles danced on the cold hardened ground, rays of sun peppered the landscape with lances eaten by shadows, and she felt dismayed by its unyielding firmness as she poked at the soil. This place is so difficult.


There’s potential, she acknowledged the property with a grudging nod and straightened from her crouch. Like me. I might as well as to help you be better too.


She made up her mind that if any remainder of her free day was left she’d head into the city and get her hair cut, cascading curls scandalously short. After all – what’s the matter with following an impulse if a life of sensibility had not led her to be happy? Another fine smile of which she was unaware adorned her wan features, which achieved a resemblance of its newer days when she restored her knife to the proper slit in her right sleeve, and joined the other two in eager anticipation of the instructions. Saline’s perfect set of teeth shone with ivory lustre.


~ Saline ~

Proud Mentee of Perine Sedai, Proud Roommate of Aeveryn, Syara, & Zaynab

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Two figures approached her, also clad in the same white dress that she wore; one with honey coloured curls that tumbled beautifully and the other with brilliant red hair, brighter than any shade she had seen so far. They made an odd pair, walking towards her in the garden the Accepted had told her to come to in order to help out; both ready to help with whatever needed doing, although the paler haired girl had an expression on her face that said that she would rather be anywhere than here today. It had taken a while for the fact that today was in fact a free day – the first one she had ever experienced in her time at the White Tower – a fact emphasised by the relaxed attitude of everyone around. The other novices Rossa had encountered on her way here had not been scurrying at their usual speed; neither had the Accepted and the Aes Sedai had been more relaxed as well.


Syara… That was the redheaded girl. She would remember the face and the name now, her innate ability to recall people after seeing them once intuitively kicking in. Syara also seemed to be a more cheerful individual than the other novice, Saline, the girl with hair the colour of the honey that had been served at breakfast back home in Ebou Dar. Both had the little mannerisms that told them apart, yet they did look as close as sisters. Maybe they shared a room or a mentor. She was beginning to pick up the terminology – mentors, roommates, and other words as well that she had needed to learn along with her lessons. Out of instinct, Rossa curtsied.


“Good morning Syara and Saline.†Saying their names like that did make them sound as though they were sisters. All women were sisters though. Her own sister, the Light rest her soul, had been fond of that particular phrase, and that women of all ages should stick together against men. She had been particularly feminist, to the point that their own mother had despaired on some occasions of marrying her off to someone with a sheen of nobility and to protect the name of House Venye from such a trait. Ah, well, there was time for reminiscences when she was asleep. For now she thought she had better introduce herself while she had the chance, to show the Accepted a united novitiate front during the gardening.


She looked around them. There did seem to be rather a lot of gardening work to do today. Tidying, mainly, but she could see lots of weeds that needed removing from their shallow-rooted depths, bits of debris that needed collecting in spite of the diligent duties of the gardeners and other novices appointed to clear these parts. It looked more like a wild meadow, with flowers that looked better suited to rolling, open fields than a well-tended garden in such an elegant setting as Tar Valon. The wind tugged gently at the leaves on the old apple tree she stood under, taking some shelter from the very bright early morning sunshine that tugged her still sleep-fogged mind sharply. The Accepted would be here soon and there would be precious little time for anything like civilised conversation then.

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Floral blotches swirled in the shape of roses on the gown, growing from the tips on the elegant bejeweled fingers of the woman staring into the easel. The girl danced as her father taught, with graceful steps befitting her station, dancing closer, observing with slight breaths the rustle of the clearing, cautiously nearing the braided idol, not wanting to disturb the marble figurine on the pedestal before her, the most lovely in this world. She wanted to know what the artist was seeing, what Lady Wastrel thought of as she applied the first flake of paint, bold and sooty to lead the eye, on the parchment. Softly, ever so tenderly putting a hand on the woman’s back, patting the narrow shoulder blade “Mother, father said the heat is not suitable for us. One more painting and we should go in.†Were there emotions she had trying to convey with this particular creation? She felt the pink gauze tremble beneath her touch, and wondered that beauty could be so frail.


“Good morning, Syara and Saline.†The voice softly tinged with the ring of command, and transported Saline with a visible start, dragging off the intoxication that fell upon her. Inhaling deeply, it seemed to her that the sweet scent of the roses vanished with her moonstruck dream. Mother who appreciated goodness in everybody, and for who all was good to, who never knew her daughter could be anything but an angel before the Creator took her from Saline. Lord father knew Saline better, as a forlorn and headstrong slave of her own imagination. He knew better the yearning his only heir had away from the Court in Tarabon. She was, as he often reassured himself with, a romantic like her Lady mother after all. But the Light take him and his brethren also, he would strike her name off the books before he willingly give a blessing on his blood mingling with that of a commoner’s, and a wandering Tinker at that!


Her words had the lilt of Altara to its sound, and Saline smiled a little having matched the origin. Aes Sedai may hold no loyalty to the nations states of their birth, but with her training and sharp ears she was able to pick out where most people came from in their speech. Just yesterday morning she had been rushing to Perine Sedai’s class and overheard an Accepted talking (rather loudly, she added) with a murandian accent so thickened that Saline would have eaten her handkerchief if she wasn’t from central Lugard. The Novice dipped into a curtsey and stood erect, her poise so proper it would have pleased her Lady mother.


The Taraboner pursed her lips at Syara before sinking into a curtsey as well. Her roommate appeared at ease under the apple tree. When she was a child she had learned how to peel apples. Her mother was ill and she used the large knife to pear away at the innards for her to get well... How father used to laugh when the apple became half its original size at the end of such excursions! Saline felt perspiration dribble down the small of her back. This was going to be a swell day all right.



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“Is it all ready?â€


She was a little worried; she would admit it to anyone. Three Novices were waiting on her now, and along with them was a corner site pledged to beauty and elegance. It was not irrational to mull over the possibilities of things not happening the way desired. Now, it was not like she did not have faith in Timmons. Affectionately she smiled at the old man, who was yet to respond, his back bent as he stood studying some ill faring plant. The man had been a gardener for the Tower Gardens for the past twenty years, he if anyone, would know what he was doing. Creakily he rose and although she was not quite sure if underneath the old ragged hat he really was laughing at her, his tone certainly suggested so. “Yes yes, Miss Vera, we’ve been waiting for more than an hour.†We? With more concern than curiousity she looked toward the direction he was pointing at and found herself staring eye to eye at yet another man. He’d called someone in to help him. Of course. Much younger than Timmons, he had a smirk playing on his lips that she instantly felt herself dislike. Smiling politely, she replied in a cooler tone than she had used before: “Well, what are we waiting for then?â€


Drawing herself up as much as she could, she turned the other way, hair whipping behind her as she glided towards the conclave awaiting her. Why, why why did the other gender affect her so? Light, she had wanted to be Red Ajah at one point. She might’ve had to deal with male chanellers, forget just tall, broody men with attractive smiles. She had been forward enough with Gillie Cole, thought Vera. And yet she was unable to shake of the sudden self consciousness that had taken a grip of her. The awareness that there was a reasonably handsome man-his stature not being equal to hers well acknowledged- walking beside her, watching her every move; she could not be at ease.


I wonder how the Novices would react.


Although no feature of the wild gush of thoughts concerning preventing such an encounter happening emerged on her face, so strong was this feeling that upon reaching a point in their little walk at which they could sight the girls, she brought herself to a stop. “You can stop here. Please leave all the tools here.†With that, she quickly moved towards the Novices awaiting her, every step bringing her a little closer to the awkward social interaction that she had devised upon having called all three there at the same time. For a few moments, she just watched, hidden under the green mass. It had been a good idea to make Rossa meet other girls, she realized as she watched the Altaran make small, yet well thought out efforts in conversation. It was an interesting mix of culture and personality: An Altaran, a Taraboner and then this third Saldaen Novice, who could almost be called ‘merry’ in comparison with her two companions.


“I’m glad you all made it in time.†She stated with a warm smile. “Saline, yes? Will you come with me for a few moments? I require some help.†Something about her…it came in vibes to Vera, something in that pale honey hair, in that smile- who did it remind her of? Had she heard something about the Novice? With a gentle tug at the girl’s sleeve, she pulled her towards the way she had come from. Quickly enough they reached the bag of seeds and shovels, among various other gardening tools that lay cluttered up in the grass. Between the two of them they managed to carry the things smoothly enough. What disappointed her was the still to be rested nagging feeling that she knew something about the girl beside her. Later, she told herself. Reaching the corner again she found Rossa and Syara conversing politely, Rossa looking a little less uptight than she had when Vera had last sought her gaze. Good. “Well, I assume you all know a little bit about gardening- I know most Novices have been lead to chores around here before. I certainly was called here often as a Novice.â€


“As you can see, this place is a mess. What with the weeds and the dying flowers and lack of sunlight, it needs a lot of mending and cleaning. The first thing we’re going to have to deal with, are the weeds.†Pausing she looked upon the girls, almost being able to hear the groans that were being muffled. “However, we are going to deal with things a little differently. I know that all of you have had your Introduction to Saidar class and well, take this as a sort of continuation to that, in an odd sort of way. Please embrace the Source.†Bending down, she picked up a shovel as she moved towards the first weed she sought out. Digging out the soil around the weed, she wove a thin weave of Air around the plant and with a gentle tug, it was out. “I think the four of us together can handle this quite easily. Please, do not over exert yourself. If you find yourself tiring, take a small break and drink some water,†she said, gesturing to the bottles she had carried with her.


“Can everyone attempt this and see if they can manage?â€

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Guest Kaile

Syara was enjoying sitting under the apple tree, it was not often the Novices had a chance to relax. She had her eyes closed and let her mind wander, while still taking part in the awkward conversation. Saline and Rossa were both rather uptight, still standing they were chatting politely. Syara herself occasionally added to the awkward dialogue a kidding sentence or two, but for the most part enjoyed the peace she found under the apple tree.


Her glorious vista was interrupted by Vera returning.


“I’m glad you all made it in time. Saline, yes? Will you come with me for a few moments? I require some help.â€


Saline being dragged off left Syara alone with Rossa. Opening her eyes Syara lazily regarded the girl. Rossa was definitely an introvert, she seemed uncomfortable and just a touch disorientated and sad as well. Ever the friendly one Syara tried to bring out a smile or laugh. It should be my official job to bring a little laughter to this place


After a few minutes of light discussion Rossa seemed a little more at ease, if no smile was yet showing. Before they had run out of things to say Vera and Saline returned, lugging gardening tools and various seeds. Syara quickly stood, rearranging her dress and brushing off the dirt.


“Well, I assume you all know a little bit about gardening- I know most Novices have been lead to chores around here before. I certainly was called here often as a Novice.â€


Now there's an understatement. Syara had swept and pulled weeds and done everything in between in the gardens.


“As you can see, this place is a mess. What with the weeds and the dying flowers and lack of sunlight, it needs a lot of mending and cleaning. The first thing we’re going to have to deal with, are the weeds.â€


Syara tried but failed to stop a slight groan escape. weeds were the bane of any gardeners life and the most monotonous thing you could possibly do was pull them out.


“However, we are going to deal with things a little differently. I know that all of you have had your Introduction to Saidar class and well, take this as a sort of continuation to that, in an odd sort of way. Please embrace the Source.â€


Syara grinned excitedly and saw that both of the others Novices were as well. Any chance to channel was wonderful, and it would turn weeding into something rather fun! Vera herself showed them how to do it, loosening the soil and then pulling the weed out with a weave of Air.


“I think the four of us together can handle this quite easily. Please, do not over exert yourself. If you find yourself tiring, take a small break and drink some water. Can everyone attempt this and see if they can manage?â€


Syara along with Saline and Rossa stepped forward and took up places around the section of garden. Closing her eyes she pictured herself as a rose bud, then as the sun shone down on her she slowly opened herself up letting the warmth from the sun soak into her. Embracing the Source was much easier now, when she had first learned how it had taken much longer for it to work. Now she could do it almost instantaneously, and eventually she would be able to embrace it without even thinking about it.


Opening her eyes Syara took in the heightened sensations that came with the Source. She could smell the apples, see the smallest insect crawling around beneath her feet. The slight grease stain on Saline’s dress was now painfully obvious. Picking up one of the gardening tools Syara bent down and loosened the patch of dirt she was working on. Using small weaves of Air she started picking out weeds.

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Lying awake in the early morning haze of sunlight, Rossa had not really recognised who it had been, shaking her awake. Only the dim recollection of the seven-banded sleeve made her realise that it was, in fact, an Accepted. Vaguely, recognition sank in that it was the same Accepted that had woken her that morning, now giving them instructions on how to proceed, using the One Power to help remove the weeds from the beds. So rarely in her time at the White Tower had Rossa actually grasped the Source that she was uncertain she could reach it now, let alone use it for a chore! The other novices had been good company while they were waiting for the Accepted to arrive, the banded dress swishing around ankles as she walked up, causing Rossa to raise her eyes from the spot on the ground she had been fixating on. Her own thoughts were still a torrent, and now the girls were splitting up to take up their positions around the garden, she felt even more alone. Light, I have to stop feeling like this! How long will the hurt last?


She knew how to embrace the Source, but giving up that much control was always a struggle for Rossa. To ensure she was sufficiently peaceful in order to grasp Saidar, she had to put all of the troubles in her mind to one side, giving them up for calming, soothing thoughts of rivers and grassy banks, of small white flowers opening to the sun and of a warm, sunny afternoon giving way into evening. Haunted by dying screams, fading into insignificance behind the crackling of flames, the terror of the heat singing hair and causing beams to come crashing down around her, falling, threatening, destroying forever her childhood and her life. She had never experienced her youth due to endless lessons in etiquette and the management of a noble House to prepare her for the continuation of the line of House Venye, knowing full well that she would likely end up in an arranged marriage to suit both Houses. But it had been hers. It had been her life. Her family. Now they were gone, Rossa did not know her direction, other than bringing that prestige back to her family name and to wreak revenge on their murderers. A joyless life, more of an existence, filled with grief, pain and burning revenge was carried out day after day. She would be one of the best.


Resolutely, Rossa bit her lip. She had to get those traumatic thoughts out of her mind. A silent glance at Syara and Saline revealed that they had begun loosening the bare earth around the weeds in the beds, and then concentrated on using Saidar to pull them from the ground; dark soil crumbling away from the twisted roots to clear the way for beautiful flowers. They made it look effortless! Part of Rossa knew that it was only reasonable to think that they knew more of the One Power than she did; they had been here longer than she had and probably did this sort of thing all the time, but it still rankled, privately. Clear the mind. Free it from all hindrances. She was at a Court function, being presented to the Queen of Altara and every mistake could cost their name utterly, being dependant on a royal whim. Back straight, stomach pulled in Rossa concentrated hard on the image of a small, white flower bud, tightly closed and growing under a warm sun. It reached to the warmth from the heavens, feeling the rays land on the folded petals. The only way she would ever grasp the One Power was to concentrate so much on extraneous details that she would forget about the tumult in her mind. Twice, Rossa lost the thread and had to begin over, pouring her concentration so hard that she began to get a small headache forming, when she calmed herself and tried again. Third time lucky.


Everything seemed so much sharper now. Intricate details, such as the way the grass was waving and how each individual stalk latched into the ground, a grease spot on the Taraboner novice’s dress, everything. The three-pronged gardening fork felt smooth and a little alien in her hands, yet she loosened the ground in the patch of earth as the Accepted had demonstrated, then sent a tiny weave of Air towards the closest of the weeds and wrapped it around the stem, pulling it backwards until she felt it freeing itself from the soil. A triumphant smile flickered over her lips at her achievement and in her happy moment, Rossa forgot about her past in the wonder of what she had done. She also lost her grasp on the One Power, and disappointment flooded her. No! Relaxing one more, determined not to give up or be shown up by other novices, Rossa tried to grasp the Source once more. She had to be good. It flooded her again, finally seeming to have remembered the trick in her mind that allowed her to relax enough by concentrating on tiny details. Back to the enhanced state, and another tiny weave of Air flowed towards the next of the weeds to continue her chore.

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  • 2 weeks later...

She was calming the flutters of trepidation, but hadn't fully realised how edgy she was until the thing she had waited for appeared. It had been different anticipating that banded rim, and the small furrow of the elegant brow, the dress crossing that dappled landscape quicker than the thoughts had summoned the glint of the serpent, its burnished eyes winking at her, and within its golden glimmer she detected a cold steely void that rendered her speechless, and suddenly demurr in that emptiness which wrapped her, snuggled about her like a blanket... no, akin to tides, she thought frantically as the ebony wave threatened to consume her.


"Saline, yes? Will you come with me for a few moments? I require some help." Saline reeled as if struck, stricken by that smile. Collecting her composure rapidly, automatically, she allowed herself to be lead by the Accepted, stiffly turning onto a narrow path that melted into the weeds, grimacing slightly at the weight of the tools they slung between them. The Novice kept her head down, her vision fixed solely on her unsightly boots, and the even more sore appeal of the ground, hard and rocky, its soil too sandy in this patch, overrun with clods that would sufficate any gleam of the little soldiers, these ants that poured from the hill. On she went, striding past that with her skirts hitched, and the other hand straining to balance the tarp. She walked through a spiderweb, her face broke its splender, the dew still dancing on some strands floating, away from her, and she was rather sorry, for the poor creature was merely waiting on an edge, as she had been, and the same might happen to her, oh she felt sorry as the pattern wove, and what fate or free will might signify went on.


The wetness remained on her face, and the sensation of the sticky threads clinging on the end of her nose. Saline turned her back and stuck a surreptitious finger near it and rubbed, hoping the gesture would be too furtive to be noticed.


Can we channel? Saline was shocked that it had been suggested in the absence of an Aes Sedai. She recalled the woman, Sarras who had been Accepted when she burnt her ability out, and pushed the stories of various severings away. It was the first lesson Perine Sedai taught her, never to embrace the Source without supervision, but surely Miss Vera was confident enough of her own control?


Surely that was it. She forced her attention on the Green as it meandered through the furry covering, and knotted itself about the stem. The weave consisted of a single element, and one that Saline knew she was capable of directing. The thinness of the thread was like the one length Perine Sedai had woven in an Air Shield last week. The class came back to her and her eyelids closed off the interfering environment as she envisioned the dignified blue eyes regarding her handiwork...


"Can everyone attempt this and see if they can manage?"


When she opened her eyes she saw the glow enveloped Syara but not how the Saldaean directed her flows. Yet whatever she did, as instructed Saline suspected, worked, for the weed was uprooted as properly and legitimately as though she had dug it up with a shovel herself. There she fairly bursted with smugness and an immeasurable pride for her roommate.


It was quite neat how Syara would pull the weeds out, extracting them as skillfully as Timmons the gnarly gardener with the kindly smile had...


The smile on her own face (for she had "taken a shine to him" as Syara would say, had Saline not?) receded however when she realised that the shovels, pickaxes and other tools that Syara could have probably identified, must have been there for a reason, and that was discipline in the name of manual labour. A harsh calling on a free day, she grumbled inwardly, despite the giddiness that having an unexpected chance to touch the Source filled her with. Syara looked pointedly at her dress, the stain, she knew, and she picked up her fork, supressing a shudder as she stabbed the soil, and it slowly yielded enough circumference for her to place a sketch around the overgrown foliage. Concentrate, she admonished harshly, and inhaling deeply, she reached for Saidar, and the warmth flowed into her, filling gently the void she did not know she was in.


Out, fuzz! She commanded viciously, and yanked the thread. Light, it worked! She was not a person for whooping, but if she were, she would have sounded akin to pack of hounds baying up the tree while cooning at night.


Despite her natural reservations about this chore, she was having lots of fun indeed! Saline marched resolutely to the next victim queued up, grinning furiously at the other Novices.


OOC: so sorry for the delayed response, I hadn't checked here in ages!

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