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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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Kristine

Arrival to the Tower (Attn: MoN)

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Annya stared at the great tower that seemed to dwarf all other building near by. She had longed to be here, even when she had run from home and an impending marriage to a man she didn’t even know. Now face to face with her dreams she was scared and hesitant to put one foot in front of the other. She had longed for adventure, and adventure she had while getting from her home on a farm outside of Whitebridge to here. She had traveled alone and mostly under the cover of night when possible. She had ridden in several peddlers’ wagons in exchange for fixing meals over camp fires and in backs of haymows when she was tired. She had long walked through the shoes she had on her feet when she left, and the dress that she now wore was the only one left that was not full of holes. It would have been a feastday dress back home, but here among the people in Tar Valon it looked like homespun rags.

 

Annya clutched the bundle in her arms like a security blanket. It was all she had left of home and fond memories. In it included two other dresses that had been worn through, the shoes that were shambles and the stockings that she no longer wore because her feet were bare on the paving stones. She had the map she had taken and several books in her parcel as well. They were her treasures, but now looking at the Tower before her she considered them garbage. Excitement prickled along her neck as she watched as soldiers crossed the bridge that she was standing next to and entered into one of the gates.

 

Well, Annya, you have come this far. It would be a shame to turn back when your dreams are so close at hand. Make the step. A small pep talk to herself and Annya let the parcel drop from her arms and watched it splash into the river. It sank from view as Annya straightened her shoulders and took one step forward to the destiny she hoped to have. The wind caught and fanned out the long red hair like a banner behind her, whipping the cream colored dress about her legs. A smile played over her face lighting up her green eyes in anticipation. She had come far, but there was still farther to go.

 

*************

 

She walked up the white marbled steps and into a chamber filled with people. Many were in white dresses some had bands on the bottom, some did not. Annya absently wondered if that meant anything. She fought hard to keep her hands still beside her as she waited for someone to come to her. A tap on her shoulder almost made her jump and scream, but then she found herself looking at another girl not much older than her own eighteen summers. She smiled at nodded. “Sorry, I am a bit… on edge.â€

 

“It’s understandable. Most people are when they first come to the Tower.†The girl with the deep brown hair and eyes said as she smiled. “Now, may I ask your business with the White Tower?â€

 

Annya nodded and hoped that she didn’t get laughed out of the Tower for this answer. “I want to see… I want to be an Aes Sedai, and I want to see if I can. My name is Annya Rowan and I come from Whitebridge…â€

 

The girl wrote her name on the tablet she carried and nodded, still smiling at her. “Fewer and fewer people come every year wanting that, at least that’s what every sister says in one lesson or another. Well, Annya Rowan, it looks like we need to see if you can even learn. I’ll take you to the Mistress of Novices. She’ll know what to do from there. Follow me.â€

 

The girl turned and glided towards one of the corridors off the main hall. Annya hustled to keep up, brushing at her skirts and hoping that no one noticed her bare feet. The hallways were a maze and Annya was glad of the girl that was guiding her. They were silent as they walked down the halls and then stopped in front of a solid looking closed door. The girl smoothed her dress then her hair and knocked.

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Whack! The sound of bells tinkled faintly, in contrast to the birch as it whistled through the air and connected with the desk with a loud thwap. The novice seated before the wooden desk jumped at the sound, her eyes wide with fear and trepidation. Faerzyne did not relish the task of punishing the wayward, despite what the girl’s believed. But it was a task she had to fulfil, nonetheless, and she always made certain to do a good job of it, lest she see the perpetrators again soon after their initial visit.

 

Cool hazel eyes surveyed the now quailing novice, her lower lip trembling at the thought of the irch being applied to her more tender flesh. It had been the first time Faerzyne had had the duty to deal with this girl, caught out of her room after curfew. Inclined to believe her story of simply losing track of time in the library, Faerzyne had refrained for birching the girl, or even giving her a chore. On this occasion, a sharp scare out to do the trick. Whack! the birch struck the wooden desk again, and the frightened novice shrank back further in the uncomfortable chair. “I don’t need to tell you the importance of curfew again, do I child?†She asked, a wry twist to her mouth. The girl shook her head hurriedly, and Faerzyne nodded briefly, causing the bells in her long braids to tinkle once more. “I thought not. Now off with you child. I do not want to see you in this office again, understood?†The novice, now pale with fright scrambled out of her chair, mumbling apologies and curtseying, even as she dashed to the door.

 

With a sigh, Faerzyne returned the birch to it’s place in her cupboard, before moving to sit behind her desk. Closing her eyes briefly, she felt a tingle as one of her wards was breached, the resulting knock causing her to open her eyes. The day was young, and already it was proving to be a testing day. “Enter.†She called, following the command with a weave of air which opened the door, much to the obvious shock of the girl who stood on the other side. Not clothed as an initiate, an outsider, or petitioner perhaps. Waving her in, Faerzyne regarded her with a smooth, though not unkind face. “My name is Faerzyne Grigory, and I am the Mistress of Novices here at the Tower. How can I help you?â€

 

Faerzyne Grigory, MoN

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Annya stood in shock as the door seemed to open unaided. Her eyes swung to the girl that was standing beside the wall. She gave Annya a small smile then scuttled off the way they had come. Annya straightened her shoulders, tilted her head up slightly and walked forward to stand in front of the woman behind the desk. She stared at the hazel eyed woman that she could not put an age to in slight wonder. Here at last was an Aes Sedai… a woman that could tell her if her dreams could come true or not.

 

Annya forced herself to pay attention as the woman both sized her up and addressed her. “My name is Faerzyne Grigory, and I am the Mistress of Novices here at the Tower. How can I help you?â€

 

“I – My name is Annya Rowan… I’m from Whitebridge. I wanted to… I want to learn to be an Aes Sedai if it is possible. I’ve read so much about them – you – and I want to…†Annya trailed off. She really did sound like a foolish girl off chasing a dream and a story in a book. She started again, trying to school her face and curb her excitement. “I want to see if I can Channel. Andor has always held strong with the Tower, and I wanted to see if there was a place for me here.â€

 

Annya rubbed one bare foot on top of the other, not sure what she would do if she couldn’t learn, or if she was refused admittance to the Tower. She knew beyond a doubt that she would not return to her home. She couldn’t go back to the destiny that awaited her there. She wanted desperately to belong to something greater than herself. She kept her arms still by her sides and her eyes fixed on the Mistress of Novices’ eyes.

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Faerzyne gestured to one of the chairs in front of her desk. They were uncomfortable, but that was for a purpose. After all, those who spent too much time in them would deserve the discomfort. Those who did not were merely reminded of the fact that they should not misbehave, in order to avoid the discomfort that came with the chairs. The young woman, who had identified herself as Annya sat down. Faerzyne folded her hands in front of her on the desk, and studied the girl intently for a moment. Not that she could judge if the girl would be worth anything just yet, but at least she would be able to see how nervous the girl was. Those who were most nervous often were the ones who wanted it most.

 

“Tell me, child…†She started, deliberately using the word child. She would become accustomed to it before she was raised to Aes Sedai, and Faerzyne saw no point in shielding the girl from what would be her reality during the next twenty years of her life, if she turned out to be worthy of staying. “Have you been tested?†The girl shook her head, indicating that she had not been tested, or perhaps that she didn’t even know what the test entailed. Faerzyne smiled reassuringly at the young woman, and opened one of the drawers of her desk. There was only one item in the drawer. A gray, clear gem that she had received from the former Mistress of Novices.

 

Slowly she rose from her seat, and walked to the other side of the desk. Though she was by no means the tallest Aes Sedai within the White Tower, she imagined that she must come across as being a giantess to the young woman sitting in the uncomfortable chair. She knelt in front of her, trying to relax the young woman a little. The test would be hard enough as it was without Annya being terrified of her. “Clear your mind completely, and focus on the stone.†She said. The girl did, staring at the stone intently. Time passed, and Faerzyne worried that her arm would cramp up before the girl showed any sign of potential. Just as she thought there would be nothing, s light flickered within the stone. Faerzyne smiled, and rose again. As she walked back to her side of the desk, she imagined she felt the surprise in the eyes of the girl as they settled on her back.

 

“Congratulations, dear. You can learn to channel.â€

 

 

Faerzyne, MoN

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