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Lesson 3: Control (Open)


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The next two weeks saw a great deal of practice and, subsequently, improvement in the classroom. During that time, the novices were able to touch saidar with a reasonable amount of reliability without the attempt becoming too much strain. Salandrian took charge of the ones who caught on, while Saline worked with the ones who were having problems accessing the Source. To the few novices still struggling to maintain a steadier hold on saidar, she advised patience—not to push themselves or worry too much. After all, it had taken Saline time when she to gain control over saidar. If it could not be done to-day, it would come. And soon enough, the moment came.


Saline said, “please close your eyes, clear your mind of everything but your rosebud. You are the rosebud. Nod your head when you feel ready to move on.“


Every day for fourteen sessions, Saline waited as the novices practiced the same exercise for touching the Source over and over. But, for the first time in two weeks, the group as a whole appeared ready to tackle more.


Saline was able to continue. “I want you to imagine the sun and its warmth touching you, the rosebud. Let that light fill your senses, pull more light toward you. As you bathe in the sunlight, the rosebud begins to open, embracing the warmth.”


“I want you to release the Source, do not hold on to it. Now open your eyes.”


Some eyes snapped open immediately, others blinked sleepily.


Smiling, Saline scooped a single half-opened rosebud (she had sent Salandrian to the private Red garden earlier to cut it) up from the table and held it out for the class to see. “This was you! How did it feel to have drawn more from the Source?”


OOC: This new technique is called pulling. When you are done with this, we will practice pushing.


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Let us assume the exercises worked for there would be little point in commenting if they didn’t. That being said, Tilly was immensely satisfied with the results. Of course, Tilly was naturally cautious for you had to be when sewing, lest you prick your finger and bleed all over a now unsellable garment.


Tilly was not about to test her limits and she had oodles of self-restraint; the moment the tranquility of Saidar began to feel overwhelming she released it. This, of course, took some time as she drew upon it with quarter-steps and crawls. Waste not, want to, and don’t have your head popping into the ceiling like a champagne cork.


Saline Sedai’s question provoked an irresistible answer, but lucky Tilly managed to stop more than a very light whisper escaping as she said, “Frightening.” No one heard it—hopefully—because no one was supposed to. It was enough she had responded at all. Baby steps into the pool, for here be dragons!


Things were progressing slowly, too slowly for her to be truly happen, which was a lurid thought in itself. She had never wanted more faster. What she had was always enough and any gains were simply blessings in the disguise of more practise and work. A dress wasn’t sewn in a day, and good things took time. That sort of thing.


What had gotten into her?



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Ray-ray shuffled her feet under the table. It was another one of those lessons on channeling that bored her to death. Fortunately, she had had better control of Saidar since the last lessons, having met Pia Sedai a few times and been forced to let go of the Source. It was not like she tried to channel anything. But Pia Sedai had been adamant. No channeling. No trying to touch the Source and definitely no experimenting of any sort.


But that being said, the Mistress of Novices had been kind enough to give her a few pointers about channeling and had allowed her to touch the Source under controlled circumstances. Sighing, she listened half heartedly as the Aes Sedai and Accepted droned on. When they mentioned about the rose and drawing on the Source, she did it without hesitation; and certainly without problems. Closing her eyes, the rose bud in the sun. And filled herself about half full of the Power. She drew slightly more than she usually did, apparently pulling in the Power to herself as per the Aes Sedai’s instructions. It really wasn’t that difficult.


As she let go of the Power, she looked around. Half of her friends had the glow of Saidar about them. Their faces showed the beatified look that came upon channelers when they breathed in the life that was Saidar. The other half had eyes shut tightly and sweat beaded on their faces. Pia Sedai had taught her how to see the glow of a fellow channeler as well. For that she was grateful. Old carpet kisser isn’t too bad after all. Sighing, she pouted her lips and waited for the class to continue.


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After two solids weeks of practising every day in her Introductions to Saidar classes Amadine could touch the true source easily. She closed her eyes as Saline Sedai started talking about the rosebud. She had tried a few times after the first class to picture the rosebud and it had not worked. Usually it made her sneeze, but when she imagined she was the gerbera bud the source came easily.


Bright pink, she was the gerbera bud. Each long petal slowly unfurling in the warth of the sun, she drew the sunlight in as she unfurled her petals. The warmth filled her, invigorated her, made her feel more alive than she had ever felt. Amadine smiled knowing that this sensation was the One Power, Saidar, filling her. She let go of the source and glanced around the room. Everyone else had the glow of Saidar surrounding her.


That had been a revelation about a week ago. The first day the source had come easily on her first try, exalted she had opened her eyes and to her shock she had seen the novice sitting in front of her, Maryam, surrounded by a soft yellow light. A glow, as if it was emanating from within the girl. Her mouth had opened in a small 'O' of surprise. Saline Sedai had noticed and and known right away it was the first time she had seen that glow. "Congratulations Child" she had said with a warm smile "from now on you will always see the glow of Saidar surrounding a woman while she holds the One Power."


Amadine looked to her right, across to where Ray-ray appeared to be lost in thought, day-dreaming again Amadine sighed. Ray was a good friend but Light the girl was easily distracted!


Amadine closed her eyes again, and felt the warmth of the petals of the gerbera. She drew on that warmth, pulling it into her. She felt as if she could hold more than she could yesterday when she tried. Letting go of the source, and beginning again this time she could draw more again. She felt that each time she pulled Saidar into her that she could fill herself a little more than last time. Her ability was growing.


Amadine practised hard. If she was to be a strong Healer she would need to be strong in the One Power. Once agaon she released Saidar and began the excerise anew.

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"Ay!" Salandrian jumped back as she pricked her thumb for the umpteenth time on the roses she had cut for Saline Sedai. She had stained her white Accepted dress with blood, but that could come out with a little Air and Water. And a Yellow or any Aes Sedai with a tad of skill in Healing could soothe her hands. No, what really was bothering her was the rain and her soaking shift. It had been raining for almost three days, with the intensity ebbing and flowing. Salandrian had chosen to wait until the last minute to go outside to cut the rosebuds and as if to spite her for her procrastination, it began down-pouring when she stepped out into the gardens.


And she was late to meet Saline she realized when she heard the bells toll High. No time to dry herself. When she stepped back into the Red Quarters many Reds looked as her as if she were a wild forest girl. Trying to pay them no mind, she glided out the Red Quarters and through the Tower as gracefully as she could, alternating between running when no one was around, and walking when novices or Aes Sedai passed her.


At last she arrived in the classroom before the novices. Saline was there, and when Salandrian entered, the Red gave her the once over. "Saline Sedai, forgive my appearance, or lack-thereof. It began raining as soon as I went out to cut the roses. Here they are on the table." She set them down, then embraced saidar and began to dry herself off. A quarter of an hour later, her shift was damp, but clean, and she looked as if she had merely taken a bath, not run through a rainstorm.


When the novices arrived, she took charge of those who seemed to understand better than the rest how to embrace the Source. Despite her initial misgivings about this bunch, some had greatly improved their ability in only a fortnight. That didn't mean she liked them. For the most part, they were still a nasty bunch of novices. But they were growing on her.


Salandrian Faerhind

Accepted of the White Tower

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The brilliant thing about having a teaching assistant was—and she congratulated herself on this discovery—Saline could indulge in a nice book while the accepted and novices worked hard.


Over the next hour Salandrian had the novices continue to build the rosebud in their minds. Each time they had the rose blooming she instructed them to hold it in their minds, and then let it fall only to start again.


When Saline looked up again, most of the novices seemed to have grasped the concept. She set her book quietly on the table and spoke: “Excellent work, class! The reason we are practicing this technique is so you are able to call up saidar at all times. Many channellers use it to clear their minds and draw upon the source in the most chaotic of events.” Saline said with a smile “it is beyond a simple novice exercise; many sisters use it for focus, and Salandrian can assure you repetition is not something you can put behind you when you’ve outgrown the white dress. The more you practice it the less daunted you will be. And Patience Tilly . . . stay behind after class.”


“Now I want you to open up to the light. Once the sunlight immersed you, hold yourself there. Now, picture a cloud slowly covering the sun. As the light from the sun is diminished on the bud, so should your hold on the source. Push it away from you, while still maintaining contact. Behind the cloud the sun provides warmth; let the source just barely trickle into you. To pull it back into you fully again, imagine the cloud slowly drifting away from the sun, and the full light and heat back on the rosebud. Do not do that too quickly, as snapping it back can hurt."


It was very draining work, for most had an easier time drinking in saidar than pushing it away. After some time Saline said, “alright, that was very well done.”


OOC: This technique is called pushing. After you finish with pushing you may leave/class is dismissed except for Tilly and Salandrian. Saline has something to show each of you.


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Hard. Yaka. For anyone unfamiliar with the expression it means ‘hard slog’, ‘hard work’, ‘a lot of effort’ AKA ‘something I’d rather not do.’ Tilly grasped the feel of the exercise. The metaphors were bloody stupid; she didn’t even like roses. Roses had thorns. Thorns were pricks. Therefore all roses were . . . ?


Bloody difficult.


Regardless, the metaphors, meditative exercises, were a way to tap into parts of her fibre she was not fully connected to. Right now she was crawling. Eventually she would run and these exercises would become foolish history, vague impressions of a formative period; that would be nice.


Tilly was a practical girl, to sit in a classroom and imagine clouds obscuring the sun was not how she wanted to spend her time; however, as it was her only method . . . well, I think you know where I am going with this. It is what it is and the medicine does nothing for you if it doesn’t taste awful.


Moving right along, it worked and Tilly managed to squeeze her connection with the source until it came as breathing through a straw, or squeezing icing out of a cone made from grease-proofed paper. All right. The last one was a little too easy. But the exercise was not hard in the conventional sense. The struggle came not in managing the trick, but suffocating the urge to let go and drown in a tide of bliss. How this was meant to relax her she had no idea.


As stated, Tilly was a practical girl and there was no logical reason she should find these lessons outrageously difficult; she approached them with the same thorough and patient mien she used for everything. Results were an expectation. Frustration was for children, resentment and anger for the frightened.




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Ama listened as Saline Sedai explained how to push Saidar away from you until it became just a trickle instead of a flood pouring into you. She closed her eyes and imagined her pink gerbera. The warmth of Saidar flooded in easily. It filled her, she pulled in more of the One Power until she felt she could pull in no more. With a deliberate action she imagined a cloud covering the sun that was Saidar. Gradually she pushed Saidar away from her. The more the cloud blocked the sun the smaller the stream of Saidar became. Someone coughed and Saidar fled from her. Although touching Saidar was becoming easy for her she still was easily distracted, and when she was distracted she lost her touch on Saidar.


Ama closed her eyes again, she had to learn to hold onto Saidar no matter what the distraction. Again she filled herself to the brim, holding a tiny bit more than last time she thought, and then she pushed Saidar away until the minutest trickle remained. She allowed the cloud to move away and slowly pulled the source back into her again. She sat and practiced this "pushing" and "pulling" technique over and over and over again.

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When the others filed out in a rush of chatter, the accepted remained. Salandrian appeared to be softening toward the novices.


Smiling, Saline didn't waste any time, “I wanted to teach you a new weave. Observe.”


She embraced saidar and quickly wove all five elements, predominantly spirit but with a tinge of earth over the basket of roses. "It is called Keeping. Now these roses will not wilt or rot for a long time."


“Your assignment is to find out different ways the Keeping can be used. If you need to find me for any reason I’ll be in the shed. Be ready with the research in one week’s time. You may go.”


Sitting back, Saline frowned as something occurred to her. “I’m so sorry. Would you mind walking with me?” The novice had been obedient, unnoticed until now. Saline had been so eager to show Salandrian a new weave, she had almost forgotten that she kept Patience Tilly after class. Leaping from her position at the front of the room, Saline grabbed the basket of roses off the table and gestured the novice to the door. “Come on, I’ll see you back to your quarters.”


“No doubt you are wondering why I've asked you to stay behind after class. Don't worry, nothing's wrong. As it happens, there is something I'd like for you to come help me with. But now is not a good time. I am free for a few hours in the morning; I would like to meet you in our regular classroom if you are not too busy?”


Together they rounded the corner to the novice quarters. Saline wondered if she would be permitted inside the room, but turned away before the shy novice could offer. One could only push lady luck so far, as ‘Rome would say, and she had a feeling – after a tiring session -- entertaining guests was one distraction the novice she was teaching did not need: aes sedai presence in a room of one's own.

“Here,” impulsively thrusting the basket of roses into the novice's hands “take this with you. I’ll see you tomorrow.”


OOC: As I said, those who haven't posted yet, just catch up and you're good!

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Maryam yawned as she settled into her chair on the fifteenth day, rubbing her eyes. She should have gone to bed earlier last night, but she had been set to clean the alcove on the third floor west study nook 5, but apparently some accepted in times gone by had decided it was a wonderful place to doodle scorchmarks into the back of one of the benches in the classic symbol of the Aes Sedai, the circle with the sinuous like down it, with her initials and another's. She'd seen the like before, probably two pillowfriends – eww – professing undying love and devotion and blah blah blah. All it meant was more work for Maryam. She'd had to get a sanding tool from the servant's workshop. The carpenter had yelled at her for that. Apparently novices were not allowed in. Ridiculous.


She sat up with a start as Salandrian glared at her, and tracked back over what the Aes Sedai had said. Embrace. Right. Rose. Rose and sunlight. She reached, grasped, and nothing. Annoyed, she grabbed for saidar again. Still, nothing! Curse her wandering head! Taking deep breaths, she imagined her father's voice, singing in her mind, calming her, soothing her, and closed her eyes, opening herself to the power.  Warmth and awareness flowed into her. Her knees and hands were raw and her collarbone bruised from where she'd dashed it against the doorframe while escaping the carpenter's wrath. Slowly she nodded, listening to Saline Sedai's instructions. Pull more? Light, what did that even mean? Then it came to her. Her father had spoken of singing, of controlled breathing. He'd taught her the trick of it, and with that as a guide, she let her body, her mind, her awareness expand. It was natural, just like breath, just like life, but oh, Light, the power! The Power! She shivered, feeling a puissant thrumming in her veins, a potential, and for an instant, she resisted the Aes Sedai's instructions. She could not let go, not now... but the memory of Pia Sedai's strap suddenly rebounded off her awareness, and she hastily released. She opened her eyes, and looked up at the Aes Sedai and accepted, abashed.

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Over the past two weeks, Elody had become adept at imagining the rose, and even seeing herself as the rose.  The practices will still tiring, especially the repetitiveness of it all.  Still, she could only look to her instructors for guidance.  They had been at this much longer than her meager two weeks, and undoubtedly knew what they were about.


She arrived at the class about the same time as most of the other girls.  Thankfully she had not had chores to rush out of, and was not late to class.  As the group settled, Saline Sedai had them begin the exercise of the rose again.


After a few minutes of warm up practice, she spoke, giving them new instructions. “I want you to imagine the sun and its warmth touching you, the rosebud. Let that light fill your senses, pull more light toward you. As you bathe in the sunlight, the rosebud begins to open, embracing the warmth.”


Pull?  How do you pull light towards you? You can stand in the light, or in the shadow, but light cannot be pulled.  I wonder if I heard her right?  Maybe it was like drawing water from a pump…

She shifted in her seat slightly as she closed her eyes again.  This time after she had the image of the rose in her mind, she let the petals open.  As they opened, she imagined a pipe opening as well and felt the light coming into the rose, into her.  The warmth spread through her, from the tips of her fingers down to her toes… She giggled softly and held it for a moment before gradually letting it the flows dissipate.


Her hold on the Source gone, Elody opened her eyes and looked around the room.  The other girls had expressions on their faces that she was sure must mirror her own.  If that is what Saidar felt like, just being opened to it, she could not wait until they were taught more.

This class period had flown by, and she was famished.  Another thing these lessons did was greatly increase her appetite.  She had chores in the kitchen this afternoon, before the evening meal.  Maybe she could snag a bite to eat in between scrubbing pots.


With the exception of the Accepted Salandrian and one of the novices, they had all been dismissed.  Girls quickly flowed out of the classroom and dispersed into other parts of the Tower, some to other classes, and some undoubtedly off to chores like herself.


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The first time she had done the rosebud exercise she had unknowingly gone too far. She was surprised how easily it had come to her, but now she needed to understand it and really control it. She had thought she was in control the first time, but clearly she wasn't. She had accepted it, and opened herself to it, but she hadn't controlled it. Over the last two weeks she practiced understanding and controlling it. Imagining the rose bud, becoming the rosebud. She had done it naturally the first time, but she needed to be able to do every step of it knowing how she did it. She found it much harder when she had to stop and think about it but she knew it was necessary. After two weeks she could open herself to it with no problem of control.


She listened to Saline Sedai's instructions on moving forward and followed precisely. She noted everything she was doing and how it affected the flow. She closed her eyes, and slowed her heart again. She pictured the little pink rosebud, leaned forward as if that would help her as she tried to mentally draw the sun. As it blossomed Kathleen felt that familiar tingling, and she could feel the warmth of the sun as the small pink rosebud opened and then she felt it really flow into her. It felt so good she didn't want to let go, she opened her eyes. The closed eyes and the leaning, both were unnecessary and she would have to work on not doing that, either one could put her in danger she didn't need to be in. But for now she was a rose.


“Now I want you to open up to the light. Once the sunlight immersed you, hold yourself there. Now, picture a cloud slowly covering the sun. As the light from the sun is diminished on the bud, so should your hold on the source. Push it away from you, while still maintaining contact. Behind the cloud the sun provides warmth; let the source just barely trickle into you. To pull it back into you fully again, imagine the cloud slowly drifting away from the sun, and the full light and heat back on the rosebud. Do not do that too quickly, as snapping it back can hurt."


Kathleen found the balance of controlling her hold on the images in her head, to listen to the instructions she was being given.  She was already immersed in the sunlight holding it close like a dear friend. Then the cloud was to come. She almost wanted to deny the Aes Sedai. Why would I want to hold back this feeling, this power? She thought. But she did as she was instructed, I suppose it could be helpful to know how to do. I don't know when it would, but I suppose it could be. She reluctantly let herself bring a heavy cloud into the image in her head blocking that sweet sweet sunlight from her view. As she did she tried not to let go of the sun, even though she couldn't see it, she knew it was still there. It was so hard to let go, to push the sun, to accept the cloud as a block, but slowly she fought through it and she could feel only a trickle of sunlight she held it there for a short time, if only to prove to herself that she could, and then she let the cloud float away. She wanted so badly to draw all the light back in right away, but she heard Saline Sedai's warning and let it slowly fill her again. She held it for a few moments longer, not wanting the class to end. Not wanting her time holding the one power to end, but she had chores to do and Saline Sedai and dismissed the class. She let go of the images in her head, settled back into dull life, and gathered her things to leave the class.



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After being rained on, having her hands pricked bloody by thorns and running to class, spending more than an hour with novices was the last thing Salandrian would have thought would calm her down. But repeating the rosebud exercise was calming to her, even while the novices struggled with it. And it gave her an excuse to hold saidar, which she relished. As the hour went on, the novices continued to improve, little by little. It was hard to track their minute progress, yet at the end of the hour some who could barely hold the Power were now, if not proficient, able to do so.


After the hour had passed, Saline taught them how to push which gave Salandrian time to sit. Only for a bit, because soon she was helping Saline make sure they understood pushing, and were actively practicing it. By the end of class when Saline dismissed them, no one was approaching proficient, but some grasped the basic practice. Salandrian had done her best.


As the students filed out, Salandrian awkwardly stood around, waiting for Saline's dismissal. Instead she smiled and said directly: “I wanted to teach you a new weave. Observe.”


Salandrian watched as Saline embraced saidar and quickly wove all five elements. Spirit was predominant but with a tinge of Earth as well. She set the weave over the basket of roses. "It is called Keeping. Now these roses will not wilt or rot for a long time." Salandrian nodded. Nothing had changed about the roses, yet the Power could be deceiving.


“Your assignment is to find out different ways the Keeping can be used. If you need to find me for any reason I’ll be in the shed. Be ready with the research in one week’s time. You may go.”


Salandrian thanked Saline, though she couldn’t help but show the confusion on her face. The weave was intricate but there was a pattern to it. And the fact that it highlighted her two strongest elements would make it easier to practice. She wondered what she could Keep? Flowers obviously, though they'd have to be cut off from the plant. Logically that meant that any piece of a plant, vegetable or fruit should be able to be preserved with the weaving. Could it be applied to meats then as well? Salandrian might have to conduct some smelly experiments. Her neighbors would not be pleased.


Salandrian Faerhind,

Accepted of the White Tower

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  • 2 months later...

For two weeks Yovela had attended class and diligently formed her rosebud in her mind, just as all of her classmates had.  She saw the sunlight on the petals, felt the joy, then as it faded she told herself that touching the One Power was not the same as using it.  She wasn't a witch yet.  Everyone could probably touch Saidar if they tried, but only witches could use it to do things.  Evil things like she'd heard of back home.  And she would go home as soon as they figured out that she couldn't do those things.


Then came the day when the witch teaching the class broke her routine.   She told the class to nod when they felt ready to move on.  Yovela wasn't ready.  Her heart told her she wasn't, but her body had been forcibly reminded only this morning that she wasn't here to do her own will and with her mind clouded by the euphoria of Saidar, she nodded without thought.


Saline Sedai said, "I want you to imagine the sun and its warmth touching you, the rosebud."  That was easy enough, since they'd been imagining the rosebud all along, but Yovela noted that they had gone from picturing a rosebud to being the rosebud.   She wondered what the change signified.  "Let that light fill your senses, pull more light toward you.  As you bathe in the sunlight, the rosebud begins to open, embracing the warmth."  Yovela let herself feel the light.  Before she had pictured it as a weak morning light coming through the window pane, but today she let the light be a high sun blazing down, its warmth flooding the petals of the rose, flooding her.


"I want you to release the Source, do not hold on to it."  Yovela let the light fade and followed the instruction to open her eyes as the last of the warmth trickled out of her.


As the witch brandished a real rosebud and asked how it felt to draw more from the Source, Yovela was forced to quash her panic.  What did she think she was going to learn here, in this place where they teach witches to use the One Power?  Of course they were going to teach her to use it.  She had tried to leave, but had she tried hard enough?  Her backside thought she had, but what was physical suffering compared to the scarring of the soul that she would face if she continued on here and let them teach her?  How would she live with herself if one day they taught her enough to make her one of their ranks?  Would she use Saidar to partake in all the evils the Amadacians spoke of?  Would she be one of those who broke the world again?  The whisper in her mind told her that she didn't need to fear these things.  None of them would come to pass if she simply stopped using Saidar.  But in the two weeks she had spent picturing her rosebud she'd also come to realize that those moments when the warmth filled her, she felt more right than she ever had in her entire life.  It was that feeling she really needed to fear because it was that feeling that would seduce her into learning more about Saidar and into using it.


The Aes Sedai turned the lesson over to the Accepted, who told them to keep practicing the technique she called pulling.  Yovela would build the image of the rosebud in her mind, herself at the center, and then allow the petals to feel the warmth of the light and open to it.  She herself would feel a rush of joy and serenity which would be overtaken by a rush of shame and remorse when she let go of the Source as instructed.  She knew that what she was doing was wrong, but it felt so good.  Perhaps that was why the Mistress of Novices had been so insistant that Yovela take this class.  Perhaps she had known Yovela would be too weak to resist the pleasure.  She shoved off a larger weight of guilt each time she tried to bring back the rosebud, but she still tried to bring it back each time she was instructed to because it felt so good.


The Aes Sedai took charge of the class again, prepared to teach them something else new.  Yovela followed the lesson, her stomach fluttering from the agitation of all her opposing emotions.  She opened herself to the light, feeling the joy overtake the guilt, and held herself in the sun.  Then she imagined her cloud and led it to gracefully float in front of the sun.  She felt the joy dimming and for a moment her instincts took over and she banished the cloud just as Saline Sedai was saying, "Do not do that too quickly, as snapping it back can hurt."  She herself experienced the pain and the surprise of it snuffed out her connection to the Source. 


She took a few deep steadying breaths before tentively reconstructing the rosebud in her mind and bringing it back into the sun.  Saidar filled her and she sat for a moment, letting the joy bathe her, before she formed her cloud again, a small one, and let it drift in front of the sun.  She felt her hold on the source dimming, but it was still there.  She sent the cloud floating out of the way again and the light filled her. 


Practice became easier after that inital attempt, but it wasn't long before Yovela was feeling more than a little tired.  When Saline finished the class, Yovela stood with the others and walked back to the Novice Quarters.  It wasn't until she was in her room on her bed that the full import of what she had done today hit her.  She had not only touched the Source, she had controlled how much of it she touched.  She had used it.  Not to break the world or destroy something or someone, but it had still tainted her.  There would be no going back now.  She was a witch, a fledgling witch perhaps, but still a witch.


She hid her face in her pillow and wept.

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