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Arriving (Attn: MoN)


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The day had dawned fair, but that hadn't lasted. Around midday, the sky had grown overcast, and a slight drizzle had begun to fall. It wasn't enough to drench the city, but brief spits of rain had slicked the streets, and set people to hurrying on their ways, trying to get indoors before the worst of the storm came. And it did promise to get worse; the western sky was heavily laden with dark stormclouds. From the outskirts of Tar Valon, Knytiri could see the massive shadow of Dragonmount itself, a fabled mountain, half-buried in thick stormclouds, illuminated from behind by distant strikes of lightning. The air even hung heavy with the smell of rain, and the wind was beginning to kick up, if only a bit.


It was into this atmosphere that Knytiri left the inn she had taken refuge at the night before. Only a short distance from the docks, she had managed to sneak into the stables, and hide there until nightfall, when she was sure that the captain of the ship she had came in on was gone. She had come out then, but been spotted by the stable boy, who had taken her inside, and paid for a meal for her himself. She tried to decline his offer, but he smiled at her, and told her he had just gotten some gold from a generous merchant, and wasn't upset to share it with a pretty girl.


Loathe to accept his generosity and loathe to decline it at the same time, for her stomach WAS rumbling, as it been the better part of the day since she had had a good meal to eat, she had finally allowed him to sit at the table with her, and share the meal as well. Then he had talked the innkeep into letting her sleep in the loft of the stables, which surprised her; most innkeeps only cared about the gold they could make from people, and couldn't have cared less about anyone else.


Unfortunately for Knytiri, the ship's captain had taken what little of her silver remained, as “payment for services unoffered” when she had been found in the hold. Her hands were still cracked and sore, a few rough bandages wrapped around the worst of her injuries. They had strapped her, then set her to hard work, something she had never experienced before; the rough wood of the ship had given her several splinters, the wash water had dried her hands and cracked her porcelain skin, her nails had broken off and were bloody, and it hurt to so much as twitch a finger.


Such was life, she figured.


Offering quick thanks to whatever good spirits may be watching over her, she had woken in the morning, dry and comfortable, and set out at once, not wanting to overstay her welcome at the inn. She brushed the straw and hay that clung to her grey, plain dress away, and set off down the street, with nothing but a tan overlcoak and a small sack tied to a cord around her waist, hidden under the cloak. She left her hood down during the morning, but as the day went on and the weather worsened, she drew it up, but the rain slashed down through the thin material, and it was only a matter of minutes before her hair was soaked, plastered to her head, thin rivulets of water running down her face and down her back, causing her to shiver as she hurried from doorway to doorway.


Realistically, she had no idea what to expect when she got to the Tower. She didn't even know what to ask, or say. In the stories, in her lovely, romantic stories, Aes Sedai were sweeping figures that always knew how to fix everything with a sentence, could right any wrongs, could undo any evils. She wondered what she would do if they turned her away. She didn't have the gold to return to Mayene, or the gold to stay here. Perhaps they would give her work, if they wouldn't let her study. Surely, they had a library that she could tend to, perhaps. Organize their volumes. With all the demands upon the Aes Sedai, they could surely use someone to do such a thing for them. If they took pity upon her, anyway.


Lost in thought, she noticed with a start that she had reached the Tower's outer walls, and made her way through them. Due to the rain, few others were out, but there were men out in the fields nevertheless. She knew them, if not by name, but by reputation. These were the men that worked to earn the right to be bonded, those that wished to become Gaidin. She found herself staring at a few as they flowed through a spar, their lathes moving in blurs, the pair twirling, almost as if dancing rather than fighting. It was a wonder that they were in control of their actions, truly. They were fast, deadly, graceful, and beautiful. Knytiri envied them suddenly—they had a grace, a regal bearing even as they did their best to “kill” their opponent that she would never have, never possess.


There was a line at the entry way to the Tower, several women gathered under small canvas tents that looked to have been erected hastily as cover from the rain. Knytiri headed in their direction, and stepped into the rear of the line, behind an elderly woman, who was holding a small child as well. The older woman turned to regard her, a kindly look in her aged eyes, the wrinkles around them soft, and cheerful when she smiled. These were lines from a happy life, a pleasant life, not the scars of a woman who had seen too much, or borne too heavy a weight for her life.


“Hello,” Knytiri said politely, bowing her head slightly in respect.


“Hello, child,” the woman said, laying a gnarled hand on the young boy's shoulder, as if to keep him at her side. “What brings you to the Tower?”


“I'm... I'm not really sure,” Knytiri confessed. “I've been having a rough time of things recently. I ended up in Tar Valon, and I've always read about the Sisters here, the Aes Sedai. I thought perhaps they might let me study, or give me work, or.. or something,” she finished lamely.


The old woman's eyes twinkled. “I once thought as you, child. That I would enjoy being one of these women, being an Aes Sedai.” She shook her head, and laughed. “A fool's dream, truly. These women could not have a harder life, or ask for more duty laid upon their shoulders. I've had a good life, and I've enjoyed the gifts I've been given, and I've always been thankful that the talent for channeling was not among my gifts.”


“You do not like Aes Sedai?”


“That is not what I said, is it, child?” The woman laughed again. “I do not envy them. I have no wish to be one, not anymore. I came here, when I was young, from Shienar, and I've never left since then, but I have no wish to ever actually enter that Tower. Not anymore.”


“What happened?” Knytiri asked, finding herself intrigued by this old woman. There seemed to be much wisdom in her voice, in her eyes, but she was also holding things back. That was usual; she hardly knew Knytiri, and could not be expected to tell her nearly everything of her life.


“I came, to be tested. I failed. They offered me a position as a servant, and I took it, devastated that I could never be one of them. A few years later, and I realized how lucky I had it. I've seen this Tower make monsters out of good people, or break young girls and make them weep. I've seen more tears shed here than any place has a right to cause. If you're smart girl, you'll go home, and forget the Tower ever existed.”


Knytiri frowned. “I can't do that,” she said stubbornly. “Home is... far. Away. Far away. I can't just go back, after having come this far.”


“And what of your family, girl? Do they support this?”


“They... don't know,” Knytiri confessed. “They'll expect me back home soon, I think. I'll send them a letter, if the Tower allows. They have a right to know, but I can't just turn away.”


The woman opened her mouth to reply again, but was cut off as three women in white dresses with bands of color around the bottom hem stepped out the doors. Knytiri wondered what the bands of color meant, and mentally scolded herself for not having read more about the Tower before. The tales she had read had usually been of Sisters and their gaidin, off on marvelous adventures, full of romance and danger and heroism of the kind most people could only dream about. Knytiri intended to live some of it, at least.


The word was passed down the line quickly that the Tower was closing the grounds to visitors for the day due to the storm, as they could not expect people to stand outside in the rain and wait. Knytir felt a surge of panic and ran up to the women, not caring what they might think.


“I have no where else to go today,” she begged one of the women. “Please. I came to see if I can learn, if I can be one of you, if it please the Light. I want... I need to know. I have no where else to go, please.”


The woman stared at her for a long moment, then turned to the other two. They seemed to have a silent discussion with nothing but a a few glances, and then she turned back to her. “Very well. We can take you to the Mistress of Novices, to be tested, but we make no promises. A chance is the best you have. Take it or leave it.”


Knytiri beamed. “A chance is all I asked for. Thank you, so much, for giving it to me.”


They nodded and motioned for her to precede them inside. She glanced over her shoulder once, and saw the old woman staring at her, a trace of sadness and regret in her ancient eyes. She frowned inwardly, wondering at the woman's warnings, before putting them out of her mind and stepped inside. The other three followed her in, then one of them motioned for her to follow, not the same who had spoken to her before.


As she followed, Knytiri peeled off the hood of her cloak and tried to smooth sodden locks of her dark hair from her face, tucking stray locks behind her ears. Water dripped from the hem of her cloak as she progressed, and she realized that she was making something of a mess. The girl escorting her said nothing however, continuing deeper into the Tower, and so Knytiri hurried after, mentally scolding herself for dirtying the inside of the Tower already.


They reached a rather large, intimidating door, and the woman with her reached up, knocking quickly, and turned towards her. “The Mistress of Novices will see you, and test you for the ability to channel. If you can, you will be part of the Tower immediately, and I will take you to your rooms. If not, then I am afraid I will have to escort you back outside.”


“I understand,” Knytiri said, not meeting her eyes, but studying the floor, hands clasped in front of her. “And I again thank you for bringing me this far.” The door cracked open as she spoke, and Knytiri drew a deep breath, bracing herself to face this. She had no other options left.

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Pia Tovisen comforted the whippet of a novice seated in front of her as best she could. Her position as overseer of the White Tower initiates meant she often handed out correction and punishments, yet there were times when she also offered a shoulder to cry on, for those in need. It was disconcerting at times, Pia herself had never been one prone to tears or 'female' outbursts of emotion, yet to some of these girls, she was the closest thing they now had to a mother.


Offering the sniffling girl a handkerchief from her pocket, Pia patted the girl's back lightly, from where she was kneeling in front of her, silver skirts swishing softly as she moved. "There now child, dry your tears." She said softly, soothingly. The girl nodded, dabbing at her moist cheeks. She had been in the office now for some time, crying with homesickness, though now at least it seemed she was feeling better, her sobs subsiding. Pia could hardly recall the words she had spoken to soothe her, but they seemed to work as the girl mustered a shaky smile.


"Thankyou, Aes Sedai." The girl managed as Pia stood, awarding her with a smile as a tingling sensation passed over her, a sure sign that one of her wards had been set off. As if on cue a knock sounded on the door. "Off with you now girl." Said Pia gently, leading her to the door. Opening it, the novice dropped a curtsey and scurried past, leaving a bewildered looking girl and an Accepted in her wake. Not clothed as an initiate, the newcomer had the appearance of an outsider, a petitioner perhaps.


The girl merely gaped at the impressive Aes Sedai, her mouth slightly agape before she closed it with a click. Pia smiled, and it softened her severe features, giving her a more motherly appearance. She turned her dark eyed gaze onto the Accepted, brows raised in question. "She has come to be tested, Pia Sedai," she said after rising from a neat curtsey. Pia nodded and bade the girl in her banded dress wait outside. Turning to the newcomer, Pia gestured towards the inner sanctum of her office. "Please, come in." She invited, allowing the girl to enter first, closing the door behind her with what must seem an ominous click. Motioning to a straight backed chair in front of the heavy wooden desk, Pia took her own seat behind it. "My name is Pia Tovisen, and I am the mistress of novices. Tel me, why is it you have come to the Tower today child?"


~Pia Tovisen, MoN


OOC: Sorry for the wait!

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Knytiri blinked as the girl rushed past her, opening her mouth to offer some sort of comfort, but the woman was gone long before she got the chance. She turned back to the doorway to see another woman standing there, looking tall, regal, and everything like an Aes Sedai should look, to Knytiri.


With a start, she realized her mouth was still hanging open and snapped it shut. Taking another deep calming breath, she brushed another strand of wet hair back, tucking it behind her left ear.


“She has come to be tested, Pia Sedai,” her escorted announced, dropping a neat curtsy. Idly, Knytiri wondered if it would be proper for her to do so as well, or not. Was it expected of her? Light! There were far too many things she had not yet read about. Burn her, for not doing her research!


“Please, come in,” Pia Sedai said, waving for Knytiri to enter. She took a few steps into the room, her shoes squishly wetly on the floor. She wiggled her toes in her worn boots. They were soaked, and cold. Some of the puddles in the streets of Tar Valon had had misleading looks, being deeper than they had appeared. The door clicked shut behind her, and Pia Sedai moved around the desk placed in the center of the room, taking her seat there. There were a couple of uncomfortable-looking high-backed chairs in the room, made of a fancy wood, gleaming with their polish. Loathe to ruin the furniture as well on her first visit, Knytiri merely stood in front of the chair, rubbing one of the bandages on her hands absently.


“My name is Pia Tovisen, and I am the mistress of novices. Tell me, why is that you have come to the Tower today, child?” she asked, her tone friendly, a kind smile on her features.


Knytiri closed her eyes for a moment, muttering a quick prayer for strength and courage, then raised one bandaged hand to wipe a raindrop away running down her forehead. “My name is Knytiri San'drea,” she formally introduced herself, now dropping into the curtsy that she had avoided before. “I came to the Tower because I really have no where else to go...” she launched into a brief explanation of where she had been, a very short recounting of her misadventures. “I was hoping I could learn, or work, here. If I can't be Aes Sedai, perhaps you need work in the library? I'm very good at organization, I could do something, maybe make some silver to get back home with, or.... something.” She trailed off weakly, wincing slightly. It sounded weak, even to her own ears. She could only imagine what Pia Sedai thought of her. Wet, bedraggled, bandaged hands, a sob story... all together, Knytiri decided she really could not get any more pathetic than she already was.

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Pia 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 Knytiri sat down. Pia 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 Pia 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. “You have not yet 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. Pia 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 Knytiri 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 Pia 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. Pia 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.”


Pia Tovisen, MoN

Ooc: rp your reaction to finding out you can channel.

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Knytiri swallowed hard as she stared at the stone in the woman's hand. She supposed she should rather have been intimidated by the woman herself, but it was the stone that held her eyes, and the stone that drew from her a fear that she had never felt before in her life. This stone, as little, as innocent, as insignificant as a stone could appear while laying in someone's hand, held the answers to her future. It would show if she could stay. It would show if she would live her life out as the old woman had that she had just met, and end up standing out in front of the Tower as well, warning young girls off in an effort to protect them from the same disappointments that she herself had suffered.


Somewhere, dimly in the recesses of her mind, she realized with a start that that was what the woman had been trying to do, with a certain finality to the thought that left no room for any disgreement.


Pia Sedai knelt in front of her, saying softly, “Clear your mind completely, and focus on the stone.”


Knytiri stared at the stone even harder than she had been. Clear her mind completely? As might as well ask her to stop a rushing horse-drawn carriage with a sheet of paper! Her mind was racing, her heat beating quickly, her breathing coming faster and faster. She wasn't ready for this. She hadn't read anything about it, and the reality of this now, here in front of her, was more earth-shattering than anything that had occurred before in her life. This was her future! And she was supposed to just... clear her mind? Ridiculous!


She took a deep breath, forcing herself to breath slower. She knew, logically, that if she failed, she wouldn't be given another chance. She had barely gotten this chance as it was. She needed to focus, she needed... to relax. She let her eyes close for a moment to shut out all visual stimulation, from the way the rain danced on the window pane in on the wall, to the way the light flickered from time to time as lightning danced in the sky, down to the woman kneeling before her, stone held up on her up-turned palm. She took the image of the stone and fixed it in her mind, and slowly let everything else drift away.


She made herself memorize it as her eyes reopened, nothing on her mind but the stone, the soft rounded edges, the way the texture looked... she even imagined she could feel its weight in her own hand, though her bandaged hands were still folded in her lap. A drop of water rolled down her forehead, ignored, and dripped from the tip of her nose. Nothing existed but that stone.


And for a moment, as she imagined peering inside the stone, a light flickered, barely there, but a light nonetheless, gone just as soon as it had come. But in her mind, the light had been bright and eternal, and merely expressed in a slight flicker in the physical world.


Pia Sedai rose suddenly, and walked back around the desk. Knytiri started, staring after her, dreading the woman's next words. Surely she had failed. Pia Sedai must have made the light as an example of what she should have been doing, a glimpse, albeit a tantalizing brief one, of what she had come so close to.


“Congratulations dear, you can learn to channel.”


Knytiri blinked. Those had not been the words she had been expecting to hear. She opened her mouth, but no words would form. Her ability to speak or think had not fully returned from being so focused on one item, and this life-altering declaration completely shattered her ability to reform her own mind. “I.... uh...” she stammered, and finally closed her mouth with a decided click and shook her head, her wet hair falling back around her face.


“I... I can? You're sure? That light, I thought you must have... I feared I didn't... I wasn't sure...” she didn't even know what she was trying to say anymore, and knew she sounded like a complete and utter fool. But, Light! She could learn to channel! She could be Aes Sedai! She had found something, and wouldn't be turned away, or used, or cast aside. She could make a difference, could learn... joy began replacing the shock and confusion, and a slow smile spread on her face before she jumped to her feet, clapping her hands together, then wincing as her sores and cuts protested from the impact. “I can stay then? I can be Aes Sedai?”

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Now that the girl had already been tested, it was time to make her stay at the White tower a fact. Strange enough, the testing didn’t mean that the girl looked any more secure than she had before about her stay at the White Tower. Even though she had to know, somewhere deep down inside of herself that she would be accepted within the White Tower. That she would learn to channel, to the best of her abilities. Still the girl shifted in her seat, as if she couldn’t quite believe that she would be asked to stay. Pia decided to relieve her from the tension that was building. She opened the book of Novices which was still in front of her. She picked up her pen, and prepared to write. “Let’s see about making your stay here a bit more permanent then, shall we?”


She didn’t have to look at the young woman to see that there was a change in the tension that had kept her in it’s thrall. “Can you tell me your full name again?” As the girl replied, she wrote it down in the book. Another life sealed to the Tower, for better and for worse. “And your place of birth and raising?” again she wrote, making Knytiri‘s stay more certain with every letter, every curved or straight line. “And finally your age.” She finished with a dot behind the age, which felt as heavy and important as any signature from any high lord or lady. “Welcome to the White Tower.”


Pia Tovisen, MoN


Ooc: rp your char’s reaction to being written down in the novice book.


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Instead of directly answering her, Pia Sedai flashed her a slightly knowing look. Knytiri figured she probably saw several girls that came in looking worse-for-wear that were overly excited about finally finding a place to stay. She opened a rather large book, and said something, but Knytiri was too focused on the book at the moment to really hear her. It was a large book, and she had heard tell of it; one of the books she had read had mentioned it:


...And those whose names were entered within its pages were sealed to the Tower. Not for a year, or ten, or even a hundred, but for all life....


She swallowed hard, and answered, slightly hoarsely, when asked her name. This was it, truly it. She had passed the test, and would now be entered into the book. There was no going back home, not now. There was no walking out of here and pretending this had never happened, and thankfully, bless the Light, she would not end up waiting in line before the Tower some many years from now, warning young girls away.


Whipping a dripping lock of hair behind her ear again, she answered the next question. “Mayene. Just... Mayene.” Before her ill-fated voyage, it had been the only home she had ever known. “And I've just seen my sixteenth nameday,” she said with another swallow. Pia Sedia finished with a certain finality to the entry, and looked up at her.


“Welcome to the White Tower.”


[Knytiri flushed, not sure what she had expected, but for some reason being taken by surprise. “I... thank you, Pia... Sedai,” she added, a bit late, not really sure what custom she was to be held to at the moment, and hanging between worlds as she felt, she suddenly wanted nothing more than a warm bath and a thick blanket to curl up into. She wanted to hide, wanted some time to think things over, and come to grips with it, but she knew that was a luxury she probably would not be given. “Where do... when... how...” she took a deep breath, starting over. “Where am I to go from here? I don't know... where anything is,” she finished lamely, flushing again.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally the book was closed again. Pia took a moment to write down the name of another novice on a piece of parchment, as well as a summons. The girl she had selected would be with them soon enough. After she handed the note to a servant that passed in the hallway joined with her office, she returned to the new Novice. With a smile she walked over to one of the many cabinets. She pulled two novice dresses from the cabinet, and handed them to the girl. “These are yours to wear during the years you are a novice. You must tend to them well, mend them when they’re torn, wash them when they’re dirty. For the next years, you will not be allowed to wear anything apart from these dresses.”


She settled behind her desk again, telling the young woman in front of her a little about the rules novices lived by. She went from the curfew to the restriction on venturing into Tar Valon, to the repercussions that would follow if she chose to venture into the yards without a good reason. “But you look like a sensible young woman, so I’m sure I won’t see too much of you here.” A knock on her door told her that the novice had arrived. “Enter.” The girl revealed herself to Pia and Knytiri. “I trust that you’ll tell her all wlse she needs to know.” Pia said. Her tone was dismissive. She glanced at the sun, and notice that it had shifted slightly. A while had passed since the young woman had entered her office. A while, but there was still a lot of time left. As the pair left her office she sighed, wondering if this day would end any time soon.



Pia Tovisen, MoN

OOC: Technically you've finished the req, but if you want to continue to rp with another novice being shown around or as your roomie or whatever feel free! :)

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