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Let me go -- Yovela's arrival (attn: MoN)


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Yovela followed the woman in the banded dress down the hall at a fast clip.  She repeated the woman's words in her head like a mantra.  If your story is true and you cannot channel, then there is no harm in being tested. Come girl, it is simply a formality that will take only minutes. Those who do not test true are sent home if that is what they wish.  It was that last part that she cared about.  She wanted to go home, though there would be quite a lot of explaining to do once she got there. 


She was a good Amadician, raised in the truths cast by the shadow of the Children of the Light, and just being in the White Tower was enough to send fear flying through her soul.  The witches were going to test her somehow, a thought that was chilling enough, but there was a greater fear implied in the woman's words -- that they might not let her go depending on what their test revealed. 


Yovela shook her head, the action sending her chin-length dark curls flying.  She wouldn't think of that.  She needed to concentrate on how she could explain her absence once she got home.  She didn't think she could admit she had been kidnapped because then everyone would want to know how she had escaped and why she had been taken.  She couldn't answer the second question herself.  She could try and make up the answers, but she never had been a very good liar. 


She was still pondering her options when the woman leading her stopped and rapped on a door.  A voice called from inside, "Enter."  Yovela followed the woman into the office and stopped two paces behind her.


"This girl was brought to the front gate by some men claiming she could channel and needs to be tested," the woman said.


"It's not true," Yovela burst out.  She immediately wished she had held her tongue, but she charged on instead.  "They kidnapped me, hauled me all the way here from Amadicia in a bumpy wagon bed, blindfolded, then dragged me here this morning.  I've never channeled in my life and I wouldn't if I could!"  She was unable to keep the disgust out of her voice at the last phrase, but she hoped the witches would let it pass. 


The woman in the banded dress cleared her throat and continuted, "Yes, well, I told the girl that I'd bring her here to be tested and if she truly can't channel, we would send her on her way if that is her desire."


The woman behind the desk dismissed the one who had led Yovela here.  It wasn't until Yovela was alone with the ageless woman that she realized that this was the person who would be deciding her fate and she had no idea how exactly the woman would do that.

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Paperwork may be mundane to most, but Pia found it relaxing. There was something to be said about neat, ordered files. Completed and thorough, no detail overlooked. Many other Aes Sedai in the tower had secretaries to perform such tasks, but Pia would let no one else touch her precious records. No one else managed to do it quite right, much to her ire. It was far easier to do it herself and take an hour or two away from tearful or rebellious novices. The soothing scratch of quill over parchment was interrupted, however, by a resounding knock upon her door. Loosing a sigh of weary resignation, Pia set down her quill.




Her dark eyes were fixed upon the door as Accepted Eslai entered with a sullen looking girl in tow. Pia listened in silence as she spoke, idly shuffling her papers into perfect alignment and squaring them exactly against the edge of her desk. Her brows rose at the sudden outburst from the young girl though, and her hands stilled. Interesting. Pia studied the girl and curtly dismissed Eslai, not even bothering to look as she dropped an elegant curtsey and departed. Alone with the young girl, Pia smiled kindly.


"Please child, sit." Pia waved her to a chair as she herself rose and set about making tea, efficiently weaving fire to heat water to boiling. When she was done, she set a delicate blue cup of steaming mint tea before the girl and took her own chair behind the desk. "It sounds as though you haven't had the best of journeys. Drink and tell me all that happened. We can deal with testing later." She smiled encouragingly and took a careful sip of her own tea.


Pia Tovisen, MoN

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Yovela looked at the chair the woman had gestured towards doubtfully, but she felt a little politeness couldn't hurt to get the process moving, so she sank into it with as much grace as she could muster.  Her calm facade was shattered as soon as she realized the woman was making tea without a fire or stove.  Her hands started to shake.  She tried folding them tightly together to make them stop.  Though it helped, she was still shaking when the witch set the tea down in front of her.  Yovela kept her eyes on the tea as the woman rounded her desk with her own cup and took her seat.


"It sounds as though you haven't had the best of journeys.  Drink and tell me all that happened.  We can deal with testing later."


Yovela heard the words, but she couldn't reconcile what she knew about the witches with the kindly voice this woman was using.  Maybe the tea water had been warm all along.  Maybe.... no.  The woman was waiting for an answer and Yovela was pretty sure she didn't want to know what would happen if she refused to give it.


She needed a sip of tea to loosen her dry tongue in her mouth, so she reached for her cup, concentrating on controlling her shaking arm.  She brought the cup to her mouth and sipped, letting the calming mint soothe her as much as it would, which sadly was not much.  For a moment she considered holding the cup to warm her hands and keep the smell of the mint closer to her face, but reluctantly she returned the cup to the table.  She wouldn't risk burning herself if she were startled somehow or if her shaking worsened.


The woman was waiting for her to speak, so Yovela cleared her throat and started.  "My uncle sent me to the market.  We live in Amador.  That's in Amadicia.  Anyway, I went to market for him often, so that was normal, but before I got there, a cart passed by me and a man in the back of it yanked me up into it.  He tied a cloth around my face before I could get a good look at him and that cloth stayed until last night.  There was always someone watching me, so I never could take it off.  Even when I was sleeping.  They would tie my hands for a day each time I tried.  They even fed me themselves so that I would have no reason to put my hands near my face.  I heard their voices though.  There were three of them, all men and all without accents so they were most likely from Amadicia as well.  I was taller than one of them and about the same as the other two, I think.  One of the taller ones was rather wide as well.


"Yesterday the three brought me to another man, the one who brought me here today.  He owns an inn in town.  I stayed in a room with no windows in his inn last night.  They locked the door and let me sleep alone without the blindfold and gave me food.  When I woke up in the morning they fed me again, not bothering to hide themselves from me.  Then the innkeeper led me out of the inn and his two men grabbed my arms and hauled me here.  I didn't want to come," she added defiantly.


"They lied about why they brought me here," she continued.  "I can't channel and if the men who nabbed me were merchants, then I was their only trade for this trip.  The woman who brought me here said you'd send me home?"  She tried to be firm and keep the question out of her voice, but she feared the White Tower and its inhabitants and saying it directly sounded demanding.  There was no telling whether or not this woman was currently unstable, but Yovela wasn't going to risk irritating her and finding out.  "My uncle's business hasn't been doing as well as he would like and he's probably missing my help sorely by now."  She hoped she had said enough that the woman would send her home soon.  She would have the whole voyage to figure out what to tell her family, but for now, all she needed to do was convince this one woman not to keep her.

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Pia frowned with concern as Yovela spun out her tale. She stayed silent, as she was oft wont to do, sipping her tea and allowing the child free rein to speak her piece. It was obvious the girl had endured a terrible ordeal, and Pia inwardly cursed the stupid fear of Amadaceans. Whether or not the child could actually channel was yet to be seen, but treating her like some sort of criminal animal for the act stirred a slow, hot anger in Pia's belly. Being able to channel was more gift than curse! Usually. So long as the girl was properly schooled and trained in the Tower.


When she at last stopped speaking, Pia set down her teacup. "Child, what a horrible ordeal you have suffered! Can I get you something eat? Some more tea?" The girl refused with a measure of politeness, and Pia could see in her eyes the deep rooted loathing for all things relating to the One Power and her desperate longing to return home. "Well, anything you need, will be provided for you, as well as arrangements to return you to your family." The relief that suddenly emanated from the small figure was almost tangible. Opening a desk drawer, Pia withdrew a clear green gem, slightly smaller than her hand and smoothed and rounded.


"Firstly, let us put the matter of channelling behind us - if you cannot channel as you say, it will be evident when I test you for the ability. Then I shall even be able to provide you a letter stating as such, if you like." Pia rose and rounded the desk, and knelt before Yovela. "Fear not child, I shall not channel anything, and you will not be harmed. All you need do is focus on the stone. That is all." Pia smiled reassuringly and waited what seemed an age as Yovela fought some internal battle and finally set her gaze upon the stone resting in Pia's outstretched hand. "That's it, just focus on the stone. Put aside all other thought, nothing else exists but the stone..." Pia droned on in a hypnotising tone, waiting and watching for what she had come to believe was an inevitable flash of light in the stone. Ahh, there. It didn't take long at all, perhaps the child had already managed to channel on her own before.


Pia clicked her tongue and rose. "Well well, it appears you can learn to channel after all, Yovela."


Pia Tovisen, MoN

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yovela flinched when the Aes Sedai's response to her story was sympathy and, if she was not mistaken, a desire to comfort.  It had to be a trick.  This woman was one of the witches of the White Tower.  People back home whispered all the time about how the witches stole young girls to take back to their Tower.  Well, maybe not all the time since most people were afraid of them, but enough that Yovela had heard it from more than one source. 


She had also heard that the witches didn't lie, though they could twist the truth like a snake in a knot.  Still, relief filled her when the Aes Sedai said directly that arrangements would be made to return her to her family.  There wasn't a way out of that was there?  No, she'd said it clearly.  Yovela could go home.


Then the witch pulled a palm sized green gem out of her desk.  She held it with some level of respect and that scared Yovela.  What would the stone do to her?  She tensed as the woman rounded the desk and came to kneel before her.  Wasn't that odd?  Why did she kneel?  What did the witch want from her?


"Fear not child, I shall not channel anything, and you will not be harmed.  All you need do is focus on the stone.  That is all."  Her words were simple and she made the process sound safe, but Yovela didn't trust what she heard.  She picked apart the phrases in her mind trying to hear what the woman wasn't saying.  That got her nowhere.  She looked at the woman's smiling face, then sighed and looked at the stone in her hand.  Hearing the woman's words of encouragement just after her eyes  touched the stone made Yovela harden.  She didn't want the witch telling her that she was doing a good job or that she just needed to relax.  She didn't want to be doing a good job for an Aes Sedai.  Yovela nearly ripped her gaze away from the stone right then, but then she reminded herself that she couldn't leave until after she took this test to the witch's satisfaction.  She sighed again and did her best to relax.


A flash in the stone startled her.  What was that?  She didn't have much time to think about it because it was then that the Aes Sedai stood and spoke.  "Well well, it appears you can learn to channel after all, Yovela."


Yovela's mouth went dry and her breath caught.  The tension built in her body until she let go of her breath in a huff of air.  "No," she choked out.  "It was you, not me.  You just want to keep me here.  You want to trick me.  You witches steal girls.  Everyone knows it.  But you can't steal me.  I won't stay."  Each phrase was cut off by a pant of air being sucked into her lungs.  Her knees shook too hard for her to stand, but it probably didn't matter since the witch could clearly stop her if she tried to leave the room.  She settled for setting her face in a determined glare and declaring, "I cannot channel" as firmly as her shaking voice would allow.

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  • 3 months later...

Pia listened to Yovela's tirade with an impassive expression. What she wanted to do was hiss with irritation, but she did not allow any such thing to pass her lips. The girl had been brainwashed her entire life, it was hardly her fault she had such skewed views on Aes Sedai. Still, it was a frustrating dilemma. The girl could channel, of that there was no doubt, and the Tower did not release such girls until they had at least learned control. Pia opened the large Book of Novices that sat squarely on her desk and rifled through it in silence, using the time to regain her patience and allow Yovela a chance to calm her panic. Finding the most recent page, she smoothed it carefully then looked across at Yovela with a kindly but implacable expression.


"You need to understand a few things, Yovela," she began calmly, "We do not steal girls. What the the White Tower does, however, provide necessary training for those who can channel. You, Yovela, are one of those girls. Like it or not, you can channel. And having done so once, it will become easier and easier to do it again." Pia shook her head as Yovela opened her mouth, cutting off any protest to the contrary she was about to make. "You will be unable to help it, no matter how strong your resolve."


Pia tried to appear reassuring. "All we will do is teach you enough control so that you will not hurt yourself or anyone else. Once you are considered safe, you will be free to leave. I hope that you will also learn the truth behind your baseless prejudices, but I will settle for teaching you control. Now, please state your name, age and place of birth and we will see about training you. The sooner you learn, the sooner you can go, yes?"



Pia Tovisen,

Mistress of Novices

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Yovela pressed her lips tightly together as she listened to the witch speak.  Lies and more lies.  She opened her mouth to tell her so at one point, but the witch pressed on, not letting Yovela say her piece.  Yovela wasn't surprised.  From what she had learned witches always thought they were more important than anyone else, so of course they thought their words were more important too.  After that she stayed silent, knowing that even if she did break in to say her piece, the witch wouldn't listen.


Yovela listened, however, and what she heard concerned her.  The witch insisted she could channel.  Insisted that they wanted to teach her control, keep her from hurting herself or others.  It was rubbish.  But there were a few things Yovela understood below the words.  "Once you are considered safe...."  Considered safe by the witches' standards, which she suspected would be much different from her own.   She considered herself safe now.  "You will be free to leave."  Meaning she wasn't free now.  Meaning she could protest all she liked, but this woman or others like her would keep Yovela from leaving until they were done with her.


When the witch baldly sat looking at her waiting for her to give her name, age, and place of birth, Yovela had a moment in which she was determined to resist.  She would say nothing.  She would force them to call her some stupid name like "girl" and give them nothing to write in their book.  Then she realized the ridiculousness of it.  The witch already knew her name.  She would find out any other details she wanted.  Witches could pull information right out of your mind.


Instead she clasped her hands in front of her to keep them from shaking, pulled her shoulders back and her chin up, and said in a voice that she wanted to believe was unwavering, "Yovela Umika, 17, Bellon, Amadicia."  She said nothing more, but stood watching the witch carefully scribe her name in the book.  The witch may have won this battle, but Yovela wasn't anywhere near done fighting.


Yovela Umika

Stubborn Novice

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