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Into the Light (Carelia's oaths)


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She had been studying, lost in the books she had taken out of the library her eyes already straining at the small print on the current book she was reading.  A History of Caemlyn. It was a boring book, written with such focus to detail that Carelia wanted to rip some pages off. Nobody needed to know that much about the city. The book even listed all the naming days of the Queens of the past. Definitely too much information. She did not hear the first knock on her door; only at the second knock she pulled her eyes off the text and stumbled to open the door.


“Carelia Noradien," The mistress of Novices said clearly impatient behind the door. Carelia barely managed to utter a greeting to her before she continued. "You are summoned to be tested for the shawl of an Aes Sedai, the light keep you whole and see you safe.”


Her mouth dropped open. And she glanced at the desk behind her where her books were scattered. Am I ready? She wondered to herself but simply nodded her head and closed the door behind her. One did not question the request to be tested. If the Mistress of Novices thought she was ready, then she must be. Carelia fell behind the Aes Sedai that were waiting for her and attempted to glide in pace with them. But her nerves were shot and she felt her legs shake and needed to keep her mouth firmly shut to keep her teeth from clattering. Light, I can’t be ready yet. I just can’t be.


The walk to the chamber where they finally stopped seemed to last forever, but Carelia did not even see the people they passed. Those who they did pass scattered out of the way as fast as possible. All they saw could guess why Carelia was escorted away. Still shivering with anxiety Carelia stepped into the ceremony room and came face-to-face with a large oval ring. It put her so much in mind of her arches that she had to really force herself to remain standing and silent.


Carelia let her gaze scan the room. An Aes Sedai of each Ajah stood around the room. None of them looked at her. They stood with their expressions calm and unreadable. Only when the Mistress of Novices called out “Attend” did the Aes Sedai move. They closed in on Carelia engulfing her inside a  circle. She swallowed hard.


“You come in ignorance Carelia Noradien, how would you depart?” the Mistress of Novices spoke her voice echoing in the room.

“In Knowledge of Myself.” Carelia spoke with her voice shaking. These answers she knew by heart, as did all Accepted close to their raising.

“For what reason have you been summoned here?”

“To be tried”

“For what reason should you be tried?”

“So that I may learn whether I am worthy.”

“For what would you be found worthy?”

“To wear the shawl.” Her last words were barely above a whisper, but still she knew that all around her heard them and the Mistress of Novices continues issuing short instructions to Carelia. She stripped her clothes to the floor as she was bid and tried to keep standing upright and calm although she felt like she wanted to cover up even though there were no men present. Nakedness had always bothered her. She stepped into the oval ring and was engulfed by a white light that took her to the depths of the Ter’Angreal


She had already faced her fears in the Three Arches when being tested for becoming Accepted. But even that had not prepared her for the 100 weaves she had to face. It was not just weaving them in turn but facing evils and fears she had hoped to have overcome. When she finally fell through the ring again she was bruised all over and her hair had escaped the chignon on top her head. She had been too tired after the weaves to say anything, not the words were expected of her. She was to spend the evening in silent contemplation of what had happened. But speaking right then would have been an impossible task.


The Mistress of Novices escorted her back to her rooms where Carelia sat down, still shaking, on her bed and buried her face in her hands. It was a night like no other. She had always known that becoming an Aes Sedai was hard work. The 18 years she had spent in the tower had proved how hard. Barely anything of her Noble upbringing was left, but still the test in the Ter’angreal had shaken her to her bones. She wept, freely and unashamed, alone in her rooms until sleep finally claimed her.


- - -


When she finally came to the sun was already peeking at the window. Carelia forced herself awake for the test was not yet over. She splashed some cold water on her face just as a knock was heard on the door. This time she answered before her escort could knock again. Seven sisters stood there and guided her though the tower back to the basement and the room of her test yesterday. Carelia knew she looked a mess, her hair though back up in the birds nest was far from neat and the bags under her eyes were larger than ever. But still she followed briskly and entered the rooms hoping that she at least held a semblance of calmness in her.


Around her was more Aes Sedai than there had been yesterday. Sitters of each Ajah were present and with them one more sister of each Ajah, stood holding and extra shawl in her hands, but Carelia barely noticed them. Her attention was on the Amyrlin Seat standing behind the oval ring. “Who comes here?” The voice of the Amyrlin seemed to boom.


“Carelia Noradien.” She managed with a shaking voice.

“For what reason do you come.”

“To swear the three oaths and thereby claim the shawl of an Aes Sedai.”

“By what right do you claim this burden?”

“By right of having made the passage, submitting myself to the will of the White Tower.”

“Then enter, if you dare, and bind yourself to the White Tower.”


Carelia took a deep breath before stepping forward. The oval ring seemed to sing to her but still she felt anxious about walking though again. The Keeper of the Chronicles waited with the Amyrlin with a pillow she had placed on the floor in front of the Amyrlin. Carelia stepped though half expecting the walls to crumble as she did. When nothing happened, she kneeled on the pillow. The Amyrlin handed her the rod that would bind her to the tower forever. She was eternally glad that her voice had grown firmer and the shaking was barely noticeable.


“Under the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will speak no word that is not true.” She felt tingling in her fingers as she said this. The Oaths were starting to bind her already


“Under the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will make no weapon for one man to kill another.” Even stronger the tingling took her and she half wanted to stop and return to being just an Accepted, but she continued. This was her life, this was the path fate had rolled her and she would live it.


“Under the light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will never use the One Power as a weapon except against shadowspawn, or in the last extreme of defending my life, or that of my warder, or another sister.” As the final oath was spoken the severity of the oaths seemed grip her tight until she could not breath, but just as quickly the feeling passed and the rod looked like any other rod, but only the knowledge that she had sworn her life to the Tower remained. The knowledge was almost a feeling of relief and satisfaction. She had not faltered.


“It is half done, and the White Tower graven on your bones. Rise now Aes sedai and choose your Ajah and all will be done that may be done under the Light.”


Carelia stood again from the pillow and the Amyrlin took the rod away from her. She took a moment to gather herself before turning to face the other sisters gathered. She had known the Ajah she would aspire to from the moment she came to the tower, or almost at least. There was no need to pretend otherwise. And the sisters all knew it as well. Carelia walked steadily to the sisters standing on the opposite side from her. The White Sisters. Her Sisters. As she stood before them she noticed from the corner of her eyes that the rest of the women were leaving the room. Her decision was made, the ceremony was over.


"I wish to ask for acceptance into the ranks of the White Ajah." She spoke with a smile to her voice now. The ceremony was still not over for Carelia but she felt relaxed, for she’d never heard of anyone being turned away from the Ajah of her choice.


"Is there any reason why this Child should not join our ranks?" One of the Sitters spoke looking at her Sisters for an answer, but of course nobody spoke up. "Welcome to the White Ajah, Carelia Noradien. We now stand as your Sisters in the Light. May the Creator guide you on your path with love as he does with us all."


The Aes Sedai that held the extra shawl came behind Carelia and placed the white fringed shawl over her shoulders. The fabric warmed her flesh and she could feel the goose bumps receding. Without another word the four Sisters left the chamber and started their way to the White Quarters. Carelia followed them though she knew the way to the White Ajah quarters so well already that she could have lead the way. She had spent many an evening with the various Sisters studying and doing chores for them. But she was the youngest Sister of the Ajah, and her place was at the back of the line.


"Rest now and familiarize yourself with your new life Carelia Sedai." They had stopped at one of the doors to the end of the corridor. When teh White Sisters left Carelia walked though the door and looked at her new home. Her things, all of them, had been brought into the rooms. The desk by the window even held all the books in an identical order as they had been in her Accepted quarters. Carelia had to smile at that. She wanted to skip and scream at her accomplishemnt but aware of her own nakedness she quickly opened the closet to find that it had been filled with beautiful silk dresses. When was the last time I dressed in anything else but the white clothes of the initiates? Carelia picked up a blue gown and slipped it on her. She grinned at the image in the mirror and flung herself onto the soft feather bed. This was her dream, her life. She was a White Sister. An Aes Sedai, and nobody could take that away from her.

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