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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Introduction to Saidar: Lesson One [OPEN TO ALL NOVICES]


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Amadine sat quietly at the desk in the front of the room waiting for her students to arrive. She had booked one of the smaller classrooms for these lessons as she was not expecting an overly large class. This was not the first lesson Amadine had taught since becoming Accepted some years ago, but it was the first time she had been trusted to teach the complete Introduction to Saidar course without some form of Aes Sedai supervision.

 

The girls dressed in pristine Novice white dresses began arriving. She smiled at each and motioned for them to take a seat. They chatted quietly amongst themselves until the prescribed time for the class to begin. At that time Amadine rose gracefully from her place at the desk and smoothed the skirt of her banded Accepted dress. She stepped around to the front of the desk and took in each of the Novices before her with a long, searching gaze, under that gaze the Novices grew silent, and their eyes lit up with the knowledge they were about to begin their journey to becoming Aes Sedai.

 

“Good morning everyone. Welcome to the Introduction to Saidar course. My name is Amadine al’Varine and I will be your teacher for the duration of this course.” Amadine began smoothly. “This class marks the beginning of your journey to become Aes Sedai. During this course you will learn about the nature of the One Power, and of course, how to channel. Now if you would each like to introduce yourselves and tell me a little about you.”

 

Amadine glanced about the classroom, surveying the excited faces before her, listening to the girls introduce themselves. Amadine’s face darkened and she spoke in a much sterner voice, “The first rule you must learn, you will learn, is to never, and I mean never, channel without supervision. Supervision means an Accepted or an Aes Sedai. If you are ever caught channelling without supervision you will wish you had never come to the White Tower. Pia Sedai will be notified immediately and you will be lucky if you are gray-haired old woman before you emerge from the kitchens to continue your studies. Do you all understand me?”

 

Again Amadine surveyed the young faces arrayed before her. Each of them was nodding sullenly and with what Amadine hoped was a healthy dose of respect. “The reason for this mandate is for your safety. Young girls such as yourselves have been burned out or killed by channelling more of Saidar than they ready for. We will teach you in a safe environment, and foster your abilities to bring you to your full strength.”

 

“Saidar is addictive. You will want to hold it all the time. You will feel more alive whilst holding Saidar; colours will be sharper and in this is the temptation to channel unsupervised. Do not fall prey to this temptation. I will say it again, and bide my words well, you will never channel unsupervised.”

 

The wide-eyed novices appeared to be taking in her warnings and Amadine hoped they would heed them well. She thought to herself that she must remind them again at the end of today’s lesson, by then they would have drawn on the Source for the first time, felt the heady intoxication that was Saidar.

 

She smiled at the Novices seated in front of her and they appeared to relax a little. “Please take out your parchments and pens; you will want to take notes from here on in.”

 

There was a rustle of parchment and the clinking of inkpots having their stoppers removed. In a few moments, when silence had settled over the room again Amadine began to speak. “We are here today to learn about the One Power. The One Power is what drives all of Creation. It allows the Pattern to form and the World to turn. As Channellers we become conduits for the One Power, we guide the One Power to use it for our needs.”

 

Amadine took up a piece of chalk and drew a large circle of the chalkboard on the front wall of the small classroom. “We can represent the One Power as a circle such as this.” Amadine then drew a sinuous line from the top of the circle and coloured the side that sat like a teardrop white. “The One Power or True Source, as you may hear it called, is made up of two halves. Women channel Saidar, the female half, you may recognise that symbol as the Flame of Tar Valon. While men channel Saidin, the male half, again you may recognise this symbol as what is known by many as the Dragon’s Fang.” Amadine paused to label to two halves of the circle.

 

There were several gasps from the Novices in the class at the mention of Saidin, one voice in a not quite whisper said “The Light protect us and the Creator shelter us in his hand.”

 

Amadine smiled and continued, “Saidar and Saidin are simply two halves of a whole. Neither evil, nor good, they just are. Saidin is often regarded as evil because of the madness which consumes men who can channel. Saidin itself is not evil, it was during the Sealing of the Bore on the Dark One’s prison that Dark One reached out as his final gesture and tainted Saidin. It is this taint on Saidin that drives men who can channel mad; they often kill others before they themselves are killed. The Red Ajah’s mission is to protect not only the world from men who can channel, but to protect them from themselves by gentling men they can find with the ability to channel Saidin.”

 

“Saidar remains clean and safe to use and it is with Saidar that Aes Sedai work. To wield Saidar we must first surrender to it and understand it. The One Power is made of five elements, Air, Water, Earth, Fire and finally Spirit. Generally women are strongest in Air and Water, whilst men are stronger in Earth and Fire. Spirit is split evenly between the two. You will probably find that you have an affinity with one or two of the elements; however, you must not let your studies lag in the other elements because as our weaves become more complex we use flows of more than one element.”

 

“Set down your pens girls and close your eyes, we will now attempt to embrace Saidar.”

 

Amadine watched as pens were hastily laid down and each girl closed her eyes and waited, some faces held trepidation whilst other held barely concealed excitement. Amadine’s voice took on a hypnotic quality, “I want you to imagine a rosebud. Exclude everything from your thoughts except the rosebud. Become the rosebud, you are the rosebud. Think of nothing but the rosebud. Be the rosebud, feel the sun on your petals, feel the warmth of the sunlight and draw that warmth in. As you draw the warmth the rosebud opens and blooms.”

 

As Amadine watched some of the girls had a glow flicker around them, brightly shining and blinking out again. Every now and then one would open her eyes and give her head a shake before closing her eyes and trying again. Gradually each of the girls in the room was able to maintain their embrace of Saidar and the glow surrounded each of them.

 

 

(OOC: RP arriving in class, introducing yourself, your reaction to learning about the nature of Saidar and then attempting to embrace Saidar. Ask questions if you wish, and have Amadine help you if need be. In a few days I will post again to complete this lesson and then we will begin Lesson Two)

 

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Allisia wiped her brow of sweat with a frustrated sigh. Setting her scrubbing brush down after rinsing it off in a bucket of soapy water, she could not help but wonder why she'd need to clean her plain, white Novice room every morning for the rest of her stay in the White Tower. The room seemed to be in a constant state of order and it was spotless to boot. Yet she had a strong feeling that if she did not do less than her best, an Accepted or even an Aes Sedai might berate her and send her off to the Mistress of Novices for a shoddy job cleaning. She audibly gasped not a second after the words 'Accepted' and 'Aes Sedai' sprung up in her mind and a worried expression came over her face. Class! I cannot be late for my first class, burn me!

 

Quickly standing and slipping on her plain white slippers haphazardly, she straightened her hair with her fingers and flew out of her room with an awkward sprint. As she ran through the hallways of the twisting Tower, she weaved her way through servants and other Novices, occasionally stopping to curtsy to Aes Sedai with arched eyebrows and ageless, smooth-cheeked faces. She muttered apologies as she more than once almost ran into a variety of serving maids or people merely on Tower business. Seeing a crowd of young women in Novice whites entering a small classroom, she tried as discreetly as possible to weave her way into the crowd. Unfortunately, her height made her painfully obvious as she stuck herself in the middle of a crowd of girls most a head or more shorter than she.

 

Making her way into the class, she sat at her desk breathlessly, observing the reddish-haired woman at the front of the classroom between labored breaths and waited for her to speak. Her dress with its bands of the seven Ajahs marked her as Accepted, though as far as Allisia could tell, the woman was only a handful of years older than herself. "Good morning everyone. Welcome to the Introduction to Saidar course. My name is Amadine al'Varine and I will be your teacher for the duration of this course. This class marks the beginning of your journey to become Aes Sedai. During this course you will learn about the nature of the One Power, and of course, how to channel. Now if you would each like to introduce yourselves and tell me a bit about you." The woman paused, obviously expecting each Novice to take her turn introducing themselves.

 

Allisia looked around timidly and waited for a few girls to go until she spoke up. Her voice was still breathless as soon as she opened her mouth, and a wave of anxiety displayed on her features but she spoke anyway, "..I am Allisia Mirobell and.. I'm from Caemlyn." She took a deep breath before going on, looking around at the other young women, "..And I like to sew." She exhaled deeply and blushed slightly. Taking yet another deep breath, this time in relief as the next girl began to introduce herself.

 

After the rest of the girls gave their introductions, the Accepted Amadine began speaking once more, this time though, her face had a dangerous look to it and her voice suggested a warning, but not a threat. "The first rule you must learn, you will learn, is to never, and I mean never, channel without supervision. Supervision means an Accepted or an Aes Sedai. If you are ever caught channeling without supervision, you will wish you had never come to the White Tower. Pia Sedai will be notified immediately and you will be lucky if you are gray-haired old women before you emerge from the kitchens to continue your studies. Do you all understand me?"

 

The words produced a thick silence throughout the room and not a hair stirred before it seemed every white-clad young woman inclined their head with a sullen stare, Allisia included. I wonder if the Mistress of Novices would truly do that to us..? Not letting us leave the scullery until we were old women. ..Aes Sedai can do whatever they want, after all. The lanky redhead felt herself shiver and she slouched in her chair, trying to shrink away from the Accepted's words.

 

After the silence set in, Amadine began again, though her voice still held a sharpness, she was more gentle in her explanation, "The reason for this mandate is for your safety. Young girls such as yourselves have been burned out or killed by channeling more of Saidar than they were ready for. We will teach you in a safe environment, and foster your abilities to bring you to your full strength. Saidar is addictive. You will want to hold it all the time. You will feel more alive whilst holding Saidar, colors will be sharper and in this is the temptation to channel unsupervised. Do not fall pray to this temptation. I will say it again, and bide my words well, you will never channel unsupervised." Taking on a much warmer expression and tone of voice, Amadine let her words linger, "Please take out your parchment and pens; you will want to take notes from here on in."

 

Allisia looked around and watched the other girls, each taking out ink and parchment from their desks. With a sigh of relief, Allisia reached, she had not missed a memo to bring her own supplies it'd seem. Reaching into her own desk, she pulled out some clean, thick parchment, a quill pen and an ink jar. With some effort, she uncorked the stopper, narrowly avoiding spilling the ink on her desk and then dipped the pen into the murky depths of the jar lightly. Almost hypnotically, she began drawing out the circle Amadine wrote on the chalkboard as she explained the One Power, the very energy that kept the wheel of Time moving. Following her lead and drawing the same sinuous line starting from the top of the circle and then down throughout, she gasped in shock when she saw she had drawn out the Dragon's Fang and looked up to Amadine with a worried expression. Her fears subsided only slightly as Amadine explained what the symbols represented and Allisia began coloring in the Dragon's Fang, making it a sickly black.  Labeling the white side as Saidar, she hesitated before writing out Saidin as though the word itself were cursed with the madness and taint Amadine spoke of. She found herself rife with shivers once again.

 

“Set down your pens girls and close your eyes, we will now attempt to embrace Saidar.” Amadine stated simply and Allisia's heart jumped.  She truly was beginning to go down the road to becoming Aes Sedai. As monumental as having her name signed in the Novice book was, that moment had paled in comparison to this stepping stone. Closing her eyes as instructed and laying her pen down after wiping it off on the side of her parchment, she folded her hands placidly in her lap. Breathing through her nose, Amadine's words filled her mind, coming in with a relaxing tone and Allisia truly begun to believe the calming words that droned on.

 

A rosebush, tall and slender formed in her mind and at the top was a rose bud in a deep reddish color. She was the rosebud, she were the petals being softly caressed by the sunlight, warming her. She found herself yearning for that light and tried to reach it. As soon as she had reached for it, it was gone. Letting out a frustrated sigh, Allisia formed the rose bud in her mind once more and went through the motions, the petals opening and drinking the sun in, yet she schooled herself so that she did not reach again.  The warmth became stronger and stronger until it finally seemed to blend into her being. Opening her eyes, Allisia let out a shocked gasp and saw the world in a different clarity.

 

Every fiber of her dress seemed to be alive and each thread was seen with a new lucidity that astonished her. Looking around, the various colors that made up the multiple nationalities of her fellow Novices seemed much more sharp and vibrant. And with this increased clarity came an intense feeling of warmth, peace and comfort. She smiled and wanted more, feeling herself reach for to draw more for the Source, the feeling and heightened senses disappeared just as suddenly as they had come. She wilted with this loss and slumped her shoulders. She looked to Amadine for further instruction.

 

(( Can't wait to see this keep going! ))

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Dyrum muttered furiously under her breath as she worked at scrubbing the soot-stains from the pristine white dress in her washbasin. She hadn’t been long at the Tower, and already she was earning punishments left and right, and for no apparent reason! So she still couldn’t curtsey properly yet, was she to be punished merely for her upbringing? She did her best to be polite and respectful towards all Aes Sedai, most of the Accepted, and even a few of the older Novices, so long as they didn’t rub her the wrong way. On the bright side, if one could see it that way, the abundance of chores set to her as punishments had kept her out of the company of that wretched cow of a roommate, Rytali bloody Basim. Dyrum sniffed hard at the thought of the girl, only to groan in despair as congealed soot painted new black strings on the dress she was cleaning.

 

All this time working, and Dyrum had barely any more knowledge of the Power than when she’d arrived. That thought brought a sharp gasp from her mouth. Class! Her first channeling class was today! Cursing furiously, most of the words mismatched and misused from her inexperience with them, Dyrum stood up and dried her hands quickly before smoothing out any wrinkles in the dress she was wearing, blessedly free of soot-stains. Stepping hurriedly into her white slippers, Dyrum darted out the door of the painfully small room she and that sow of an Illianer shared, (shared!), nearly slamming the door in her rush to not be late to class. She caught glimpse of a tall and gangly girl, apparently also late from the way she was hurrying, and decided to follow her, for Dyrum had no idea where on earth she needed to be, the Tower could be so confusing. Someone should have given her a map, it just wasn’t proper for one of noble blood such as herself to become lost, after all.

 

Her small frame proved to her advantage as Dyrum wove through the crowds of Novices, skirting around the scattered groups of Accepted, and trying her best to appear meek and insignificant as she offered her pathetic excuses for curtseys to Aes Sedai, though she was sure at least one of the sisters had caught her with one of those soul-withering glares that only women who had attained the shawl seemed capable of. Dyrum winced, certain she would be hearing from Mistress Pia shortly after this class. Nothing escaped that Light-burned woman’s notice. Nothing!

 

At last, Dyrum managed to slip into the classroom just behind the taller girl, probably from Andor, unless Dyrum’s nobleborn education was failing her, which of course it never would. Dyrum slipped silently into a desk to the right of the Andoran girl, keeping a close eye on the Accepted at the front of the room, their teacher most likely. Dyrum frowned slightly, a girl of her stature deserved to be taught only by a full-fledged Aes Sedai, one who actually understood every nuance of the Power. But, as complaining had done nothing for her thus far in her stay at the Tower, the Alede child decided this woman would have to do. She watched the woman’s movements, her face, nothing was too insignificant to be noticed when it came to people. However, as the Accepted introduced herself as Amadine al’Varine, an Andoran name, confirmed by the tint of her hair, which was almost unheard of in most other nations. When she asked the Novices to introduce themselves, Dyrum quickly stood up. After all, it was only fitting that she be the first in all things, as befit her noble blood. Subconsciously straightening her dark hair, held back in a tight ponytail, Dyrum allowed a wisp of a smile to touch her face.

 

“I am Dyrum Alede, of Cairhien, and I was trained by a court bard to play the flute,” her voice was short and almost musical in the rhythm, placing an almost unconscious emphasis on the word ‘I.’ Even as she sat down, girls were falling over themselves to stand up and be heard. She paid them little attention, none of them were worth her notice, though she did mark a few that may have been of noble blood themselves. Those would bear making friends with, as they could prove useful during her stay and after she had attained the shawl. Dyrum paid particular interest to the girl next to her, Alisia. As Dyrum had thought, the girl was Andoran, her height gave her away, and from Caemlyn as well. Another worth watching, though Dyrum couldn’t yet discern if Allisia was an actual noble’s child, or simply claiming to be from Caemlyn in an attempt to garner status, for all that was worth as a Novice.

 

After the last girl had introduced herself, Accepted Amadine began the lesson. Dyrum listened intently at her warnings, though frankly, the noblegirl thought them to be a little ridiculous. Little more than tales to frighten Novices into not practicing or exploring their potential without strict supervision. That would never do, Dyrum would need plenty of private practice on her own if she was to come of her own. She was sure the sisters would understand. After the Accepted was through trying to bully the Novices into not channeling without supervision, she began the actual lesson, and Dyrum took notes quickly in her short, neat handwriting. She had been taught to read and write from a young age, which was far more than many of the other Initiates of the Tower, or even Aes Sedai could claim. Much of what Accepted Amadine said on the nature of saidar and saidin had already been taught to Dyrum on her way to Tar Valon by the sister who had tested her, but she suspected not every Novice had been so fortunate. Still, she took detailed notes, perhaps she could exchange them for a favor, should a less-gifted Novice need help for any exam over this material.

 

Finally, the time came, when Amadine gave the girls the order to put down their quills and close their eyes. Dyrum could hardly wait, she could feel her heartbeat kick up several notches in sheer anticipation, though she worked hard not to let it show on her face. She followed the Accepted’s advice, picturing in her mind one of the many beautiful rosebushes the Alede family had kept at their estate. Atop that bush was a single bud, not yet opened to the spring air. Dyrum was that bud, and in her mind she pictured it slowly opening towards the warmth of the sun. Within, she could feel…something…opening toward another kind of sun. And abruptly the light flooded in.

Dyrum opened her eyes with a sharp gasp. Everything was so crisp, so clear! It was as if she had been blind her entire life, and only now truly saw. She could feel every fiber in her poorly-made dress, see every hair on the Andoran girl’s head. She felt so alive, as if she could do anything in the world with only a thought. Dyrum frowned…just how did one do anything with all of this power? Maybe she needed more…. Slowly, Dyrum opened herself to more of the Power, feeling it flood through her. The ecstasy grew to the point of pain, and suddenly Dyrum wondered if there might be some truth to the Accepted’s warnings about the dangers of the Power. Nevermind that now, she needed to do something with all of it…. Abruptly, it was gone, her concentration lost as her thoughts had wandered. The entire world had grown dull and died, but Light, Dyrum simply could not wait for her next opportunity to experience it again!

 

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Amadine watched on as the group of Novices before her practised embracing Saidar. Flashes of the glow around each girls became more solid as gradually all the girls arrayed before her were able to embrace and hold Saidar. She felt the Source flowing through each of the girls and smiled to herself. It was quite a rewarding feeling, to know she was teaching the next generation of Aes Sedai. Of course, it was hardly likely that all of these Novices would become Aes Sedai, but she would do everything in her power to ensure they could wield Saidar safely, both for themselves and for those around them.

 

Amadine made a short circuit of the small classroom, congratulating each girl on being able to hold Saidar, giving words of encouragement and helping those who needed it to keep their focus.

 

Sometime later, when there had been several obvious yawns from amongst her students Amadine walked back to the front of the classroom and clapped her hands together briskly. Once she had the attention of all the Novices in the room she began to speak, “You will all release Saidar now. Congratulations to each of you, you have all taken the first step on your journey to control Saidar. I can see many of you are tired; working with Saidar takes more concentration than you would first imagine.  It will take time for you to adjust to physical demands Saidar places on you.”

 

Amadine looked around and saw the glow of Saidar still surrounding one of the Novices, Dyrum, she thought and arched her eyebrow at the girl, “You will release Saidar now.”

 

She looked around the room and resumed the stony gaze and harsh tone she had employed at the beginning of the lesson, “You will not attempt to touch Saidar without the presence of an Aes Sedai or an Accepted. If I hear of you doing so, you will find yourself with an appointment with Pia Sedai and the pots in the kitchens.”

 

Amadine’s face softened as she surveyed the tired Novices, “I will see you here again next week for second lesson in you Introduction to Saidar course. Class dismissed.”

 

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It was warm, too warm.

 

The trapper's daughter woke from her night of dreamless and deep slumber with a sweaty shift. Her roommate Tilly had gone already, but left the window open to its full on the fine sun-filled morning. There she stood for a few minutes, breathing the warm, soft air charged with the scent of white lilies underneath. Then she changed into the white cotton dress of a novice, tucking her stockings into the band inside it so they would stay securely when she walked. Saying a quick prayer before she locked up the door and left. Breakfast with the group was a luxury in which she did not choose to partake. Rydia and Tilly had that in common, at least.

 

The classroom, too, was warm. Rydia was still in awe that the Tower could maintain this level of heat all year round, not just the summertime, as their teacher, an older girl named Amadine--marked to be an accepted by the white cotton dress with a colorful band on the outside lining the hem--introduced Rydia and her fellow novices to each other and then the nature of saidar. Rydia liked having an accepted teaching her. She definitely felt more at ease getting to know the novices and the accepted than that Pia Sedai whom Rydia had met the first day when she accidentally stumbled into Tilly's meeting with the Grey.

 

When Amadine mentioned getting into trouble by touching saidar without supervision, Rydia silently agreed it would be a very sorry novice silly enough to cross Pia Sedai, who might be capable of eating novices for breakfast for all Rydia knew.

 

But Amadine mentioned saidin, which was infinitely scarier than even Pia Sedai.

 

“The Light protect us and the Creator shelter us in his hand.” Rydia shivered and crossed herself quickly to dispel any unwanted attention, as though the mere mention of saidin would invite bad luck into the classroom. She had heard of saidin, of course, everybody who hailed from the small but superstitious village Rydia and her father inhabited had heard such terrible things people did with saidin.

 

After which the class was instructed to touch saidar.

 

Rydia found the exercise to be an affirming experience. Opening up to saidar felt like floating on warm water to her. Delightful. Perfect.

 

But then it stopped. Rydia bit her lip as they were dismissed, realising that this aes sedai training was not all fun and games. Not for the first time, she broke out in a cold sweat.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nodding distractedly to the woman… Accepted? at the front of the small room, Milandra took the first available desk she could find.  She was still getting used to feeling so… underdressed.  The materials that made up her Novice dress and accessories were fine enough… for a servant.  "Change it for black, and my own parents would mistake me for kitchen staff," she thought bleakly.  She grimaced at her dishpan hands; she was positive that her family’s servants weren’t forced to work that hard!

 

Eventually, their teacher stood to introduce herself, and bade everyone else to do the same.  "I am Milandra Basene, most recently of Tar Valon.  Well, always of Tar Valon, seeing how I was born and raised here!"  She decided to leave it at that; she didn’t want to gain any more potential enemies.  She’d already earned herself punishment for being ‘stuck up’, when all she’d said was that nobody had ever dared yell at her quite that way before!

 

Next came the already dull warnings and chastisements about the dangers of Saidar.  As she’d not touched the One Power yet, it all seemed over cautionary; was it really that dangerous?  Still, she attempted to be mindful of these warnings, and dutifully prepared herself to take notes as instructed.  Milandra had to admit that it was all fascinating, and even frightening; it had never occurred to her that Saidin itself was blameless, or that it was as important as Saidar to keeping the Wheel of Time turning.  The thought of males channeling made her uneasy – if they knew they were destined to go mad, then why would they even dare to try?

 

She, of course, soon found out.

 

Milla put her pen down, and closed her eyes as instructed.  She suddenly felt quite nervous – she was finally going to learn how to channel!  'Be the rosebud', they were told, and she’d get so excited that she would try to mentally rush the opening.  Still, the teacher was calm and patient; it was impossible to not surrender to such tranquil instruction.  "Be the rosebud," Milla thought to herself as she slowly unfurled.  Suddenly, there was an inexplicable warmth; could this be Saidar?  She eagerly reached for the warmth in her mind, only for it to evaporate like the dew before the sun.  Smiling triumphantly, she tried again and again until class was over.  While still not sure how she felt about this whole being a Novice thing, this, at least, had been quite the experience.

Edited by Raeyn
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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

“That's more like it!” Bennu murmured, satisfied, as she folded down the last coverlet on her bed and stepped back to admire her work. A yawn slipped from her mouth unbidden. She'd woken up a tad earlier than might have been wise, but cleaning this room to her satisfaction needed more than the hour or so that novices normally got in the morning. But now, the room smacked clean with the bright acrid smell of well-used cleaning materials.

 

With a smile, she donned her Novice dress, collected her notebook, ink and extra quills, and hurried down to breakfast. A certain Accepted's advice from her first day here was deeply imbedded in her mind; she was going to do her best not to be late to her first class. So, she found the lightest, quickest things to eat for the first meal of the day; she'd make up for that at lunch. The novice was still nibbling on the last bit of bread as she ran to the classroom.

 

Even despite her determination, she managed to be among the last people in class. Clearly she wasn't the only one obsessed with not being hauled up in front of Pia Sedai. Light! I really wanted to be near to the blackboard, she thought glumly as she slipped into one of the seats at the rear of the room and checked the time....she wasn't late, that she knew, but Light, some people were horribly early.

 

Thankfully she made it in just ahead of the Accepted, and blew out in relief. She barely heard the teacher's introduction, but did notice when she asked for introductions around the room. “I'm Bennu Abravanel,” she said brightly. “I'm from Tear, and I was a librarian before I came here.” As she spoke, she arranged her writing materials in anticipation of all the notes they'd no doubt have to take in the course of today's lesson.

 

Thirty minutes later, Bennu found herself frowning; she'd filled four pages of notes and broken one of her quills in the process. Much of what the Accepted started with was warnings that didn't need to be written down, with quite a bit of it being taught her by Meryani Sedai during the sea voyage from her home, but she noted it down just because it helped her think. She was puzzled; she had no problem with channeling practices only in the presence of those more versed in channeling the Power, but how often would they be practicing? There was so little time in the day, and those days were already crammed full with other classes. Not to mention chores. Ah well, she did love a challenge.

 

Sometime after that, the Accepted called for quills down so they could actually make a first attempt on drawing on the One Power. The novice quickly discovered that imagery was really not her strong point; how was imagining a rosebud connected to saidar? Despite the Accepted being calm and encouraging, telling them that that first touch would not be easy at all, Bennu fumbled multiple times, her temper spiking by a degree each time she followed the directions and felt nothing.

 

And then she did. Just a brief flicker of something, and it was gone. The next attempt the novice managed to hold onto it, feeling it out. It was unlike any sensation she'd ever experienced before. So this was the One Power....

 

The Accepted harumphed, and Bennu let go, sheepishly. She'd been so deep in her thoughts she'd not heard the command to release.

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OOC: Joining late, per our pm. ;)

 

IC:

 

Elin arrived in the classroom and sat nervously, her hands resting on top of a small pile of texts, loosely bound parchment for note taking, and steel nibbed pens, all of which had been provided for her by a very kind clerk. Her bonnet was deep, which allowed her to keep from meeting the eyes of any of the other girls. They all seemed pleased to be here, excited. Elin felt more than a bit of dread at the thought of today's lesson. She had been told it was an introduction to the female half of the power. She hadn't even known the power was divided into halves. What if, while she was asked to demonstrate or attempt something, the instructor realized it wasn't Elin channeling at all? As far as she knew, none of the Aes Sedai she'd met had channeled around her. Perhaps one could only sense Nile if they were channeling... or his twin.

 

When the Accepted signaled the beginning of the class, Elin did her best to pay proper attention. When it was her turn to introduce herself, she stood, curtsied, and turned just enough to face the other students in the room. "My name is Elin Hawes, I am lately of Amadicia. My family owned a bakery and a mill in our village."

 

With a polite curtsy, she sat again. There was nothing else she could share about herself that would not bring up Nile. The Tower might think she was an asset because they thought she could channel, but if the girls in her class knew her twin brother had been executed by their neighbors for being a channeler... it would change how they looked at her.

 

After the introductions were over, Elin's eyes never left the kind woman who had met her on her first day here in the Tower, and she quickly scrawled out appropriate notes on the facts Amadine was presenting. Amadine was not like what Elin had been lead to expect from an Accepted. She was gentle, persuading, and firm. Over breakfast, Elin had heard some novices complaining about a hatchet faced Accepted who apparently lived to assign chores to those two girls. Their complaints had run from how harsh she was to how little she actually taught in her classes. Elin was glad that Amadine was not like that.

 

Elin dismissed the warning about channeling unsupervised. It didn't apply to her. She was simply there while Nile channeled for her. What worried her, was this new information about the Power. It was broken into two halves, one only accessible by women and one only by men. Elin was sure that Nile's use of the male half would reveal her secret. Would Amadine call for a Red sister to take her away? What could be done? Would she go mad because of her connection to her twin? All of these thoughts darted through her head as she listened to the rest of the lecture. When Amadine finally told them to put their pens down, Elin sighed. Hopefully there would be time for her to go to Valeri Sedai to explain this all before it went too far.

 

But that was not to be. Amadine instructed them all to surrender to the source, to let it fill them. Elin took a deep breath, knowing that Nile would follow the instructions give her. Perhaps it was best that their secret be revealed this early. She wouldn't want to deceive anyone. She felt the warmth of Nile's presence with her, and it was very much like Amadine had described holding the power felt. Perhaps because Nile was her twin, a part of him had lived on in her, and that link was what allowed her to sense him. Perhaps she was sensing the power he held. Elin held her breath, waiting for the kind Accepted to comment on the wrongness of Elin's situation.

 

When it didn't come, Elin was shocked. She looked around, and saw the other girls almost glowing. It was like they had a flickering halo. Amadine smiled at them all, congratulated them, warned them against unsupervised channeling, and told them to come back next week. Perhaps the Accepted didn't know what to look for. Maybe she meant to ask an Aes Sedai to speak with Elin later.

 

Elin gathered her belongings and filed out of the class, worrying about when she would be found out the whole way.

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  • 3 months later...

Leala had never curtsied so much in her life. She suddenly felt a connection with her handmaidens back at home. This time, she curtsied to the Gray Aes Sedai who had requested that she take a rather lengthy letter to a clerk and to report back. This was not the first chore of the day, but it was certainly the last chore that she had before her first lesson in Saidar. She left the Aes Sedai's office and calmly walked to the classroom. Even though she was rather exhausted from all the chores and physical labor that she was not used to in her home, she rather enjoyed the sense that she had done something of use. She had wanted to be the first one in the classroom, but when she arrived, she found a few others had arrived before she had. She sat close to the front with her parchment, ink, and pen at the ready. An Accepted stood at the front of the room and waited for the rest of her charges. She asked the girls to introduce themselves and when the cycle found itself at Leala's turn, she did as instructed.

 

"My name is Leala Gymorraine. I am the first daughter and second child of House Gymorraine in Caemlyn. I was too young to enter the Tower when I was tested, but I was escorted here recently and enrolled. I do not remember much about my testing, but I am looking forward to my journey to becoming an Aes Sedai."

 

Once everyone had entered the room, Amadine started the lesson with a few rules about not channeling without supervision. She drove the point home to her class by taking on a stern voice. Leala was aware of some of the rules, but took in all the ones that she did not know with sincerity. She remained quiet at the others gasped at the rules and chatted amongst themselves for a moment before they all nodded their acceptance of this rule to their teacher. Accepted Amadine continued. Leala listened intently as she explained the addictive nature of Saidar which explained why exactly it was imperative that they never channeled unsupervised. When the Accepted said to take out their parchment and pens, Leala simply took her pen and loaded it with ink and waited for the rest of the lecture.

 

She took notes on the One Power as her instructor continued and even copied the symbol of the Flame of Tar Valon and the Dragon's Fang next to it with a few hatch lines. She did not overreact at the explanation of Saidin. She did not claim to know everything and always wanted to keep her mind open to new things. She knew next to nothing about Saidar. Who was she to say that its counterpart had anything wrong with it? She continued by taking notes about the Red Ajah's mission and the elements of the One Power. She wondered for a moment where her talents lay in those. As instructed, she set her pen down and closed her eyes.

 

The image she conjured in her mind of the rose was a silver rose, like the ones on her House's seal. She quickly changed the color, however. The rose was now a deep crimson, full of life and potential. she imagined herself as this beautiful flower waiting to bloom and the sun's kiss on her petals. The dew she imagined glittered like crystals in the sun light as well. When her proverbial petals pulled back to the sun, she felt an immense warm feeling. For the first time in a while, a smile crept across her mouth. She would have to train herself like the Aes Sedai to hold back this joy that she felt. But, this power felt like the source of all joy in the world. The power pulled back for a moment, but she quickly embraced it again, wanting to feel more. In her reaching of this miraculous feeling, she heard the Amadine tell them to release Saidar. She hesitated for just a moment, but reluctantly let go, as she had been told. So, that was Saidar. Her instructor had told them about its power in increasing the senses and the elements contained in it as well. Now that she had consciously touched the female half of the One Power, she yearned to learn more.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Auriane had come to class early. She had barely been entered into the Novice book and been shown to her room when this class was about to take place. She would start her real chores soon after this, but this, Riana thought, is the real test. She sat with a book and quill before her, and the Light bless her and let there not be much writing in this class. Then again, would it not be worse to do practical work?

 

She sat, imitating as well as she could the way the Aes Sedai she had seen so far sat -- legs crossed and hands clasped in her lap. It was an effort. Her hair was falling in her face without a ribbon to hold it back. She had had to give up hers, because it was not white. Riana started wringing her hands, uncomfortable and nervous as she was. A part of her wanted this class to begin, so as not to prolong this awkward situation, but a part of her wanted to get it done and get to her chores. She didn't like sitting still.

 

In the minutes she waited, more Novices started filing in, one by one. She spotted women from all different backgrounds, some walking as Auriane would, some strutting, some flouncing. She saw hair thin, thick, curly and straight of all different colours, and a myriad of skintones. (There was even a woman who looked almost as dark as what she had heard of the Sea Folk!) Riana had never seen such a varied array of appearances in one place. What she had heard of the White Tower must have been true: no matter where you were, if you could channel, the Aes Sedai would find you. The thought filled her with wonder. The girls introduced themselves as they entered the room, but as Riana was already in the room, she decided that if she stayed quiet, she would go unnoticed. Best not to draw attention to herself.

 

The other Novices quietened as a woman in a banded dress entered the room. After introducing herself, she issued the class a dire warning not to channel unsupervised. Auriane thought: It's not as if I'd want to, is it? The woman continued, and eventually ordered the girls to take their pens. The thought filled Riana with dread. She drew a circle on the board, drew a sinuous line through it and Auriane clumsily attempted to copy this. Shading in the dark half of the circle, she realised it didn't look like a circle at all. Frustrated, she tried again. And again. And again... Noticing the other women sitting with their eyes closed, Riana promptly closed hers and waited, sitting still.

 

“You will all release Saidar now. Congratulations to each of you, you have all taken the first step on your journey to control Saidar. I can see many of you are tired; working with Saidar takes more concentration than you would first imagine. It will take time for you to adjust to physical demands Saidar places on you. You will not attempt to touch Saidar without the presence of an Aes Sedai or an Accepted. If I hear of you doing so, you will find yourself with an appointment with Pia Sedai and the pots in the kitchens. I will see you here again next week for second lesson in you Introduction to Saidar course. Class dismissed.”

 

Having no idea what had just happened, Auriane scuttled out of the class, hoping not to have been noticed. Maybe she could just go on doing her chores and remaining unnoticed, until she could return home to the farm...

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  • 3 weeks later...

Not even a full month in the tower, and Aliena was already exhausted. Upon arriving, she had been ushered to her room, and the next day she began chores. She had nothing against working hard and cleaning, but it was becoming exhausting. There was no Saidar classes for her to jump into, and so for the time being, she was in limbo. Her main duty was to rush about, serving Aes Sedai and taking care of any tasks assigned to her. It was constant motion, and Ali was glad to finally have a small break in taking a class.

 

Sliding into her chair in the classroom, all of the girls were giggling and laughing, as though they had been friends for ages. Ali felt alone, not having a single friend yet. The girl to one side of her room was always coming back late, and seemed to always pass out as soon as she went to bed. The room on the other side was still empty. It was a lonely existence, being a Novice.

 

“Good morning everyone. Welcome to the Introduction to Saidar course. My name is Amadine al’Varine and I will be your teacher for the duration of this course. This class marks the beginning of your journey to become Aes Sedai. During this course you will learn about the nature of the One Power, and of course, how to channel. Now if you would each like to introduce yourselves and tell me a little about you.”

 

Aliena sat back, studying Accepted Amadine. The woman certainly seemed sure about herself, but Ali could see naught but another woman struggling to get by in the tower. Would she ever be as calm as the Accepted appeared to be? Ali couldn't help but to feel an emotional wreck with a mask across her face, like the Aes Sedai; she didn't want anyone to know how lonely she was.

 

When it came to Aliena's turn, she rose silently, and forced a smile. “My name is Aliena Halinor. I am from Carysford, in Andor.” That seemed sufficient, and she sat down, allowing the next girl to speak. She intended to keep her mouth shut and just listen for a time. Perhaps one day, she would speak more, but she had too much to learn to do most of the talking. There was no way she was spending years upon years as a Novice and then as an Accepted.

 

“The first rule you must learn, you will learn, is to never, and I mean never, channel without supervision. Supervision means an Accepted or an Aes Sedai. If you are ever caught channelling without supervision you will wish you had never come to the White Tower. Pia Sedai will be notified immediately and you will be lucky if you are gray-haired old woman before you emerge from the kitchens to continue your studies. Do you all understand me?”

 

Accepted Amadine had become very serious, and Ali sat back and held in a sigh. This tower was so full of rules. How was a woman supposed to get anything done in any sort of a timely manner while still having it be constructional when every step had to be carefully planned, articulated, and then studied. It was pathetic. Perhaps it wouldn't take numerous years of study to become an Aes Sedai if there wasn't so many rules.

 

“The reason for this mandate is for your safety. Young girls such as yourselves have been burned out or killed by channelling more of Saidar than they ready for. We will teach you in a safe environment, and foster your abilities to bring you to your full strength.”

 

A safe environment? Really? There was barely a moment that they ever had to theirselves, so how could they ever channel unguarded? Every time you turned around, there was an Aes Sedai. It seemed absolutely absurd to be so guarded about such a simple thing as channeling. Their were grown women, for Light's sake! Couldn't they be trusted with something as small as that?

 

“Saidar is addictive. You will want to hold it all the time. You will feel more alive whilst holding Saidar; colours will be sharper and in this is the temptation to channel unsupervised. Do not fall prey to this temptation. I will say it again, and bide my words well, you will never channel unsupervised.”

 

Aliena sat back and couldn't seem to be able to stiffle that sigh. Thank the Light there was a girl in front of her with very poofy hair. The Accepted hadn't noticed she had fallen down into her chair slightly, and Ali stared out the window. There was so much beauty – why couldn't they take their class outside? She was so tired of being stuffed inside of these walls.

 

“Please take out your parchments and pens; you will want to take notes from here on in.” Ali had already set her inkpot out on her desk and had her pen resting in her hand, parchment spread out. Why couldn't the other girls have already been prepared? Aliena was the one from the middle of nowhere with no life experience to speak of, and yet she was 15x more brilliant than all of these girls put together. Was she in a room full of clods?!

 

“We are here today to learn about the One Power. The One Power is what drives all of Creation. It allows the Pattern to form and the World to turn. As Channellers we become conduits for the One Power, we guide the One Power to use it for our needs.” One Power. Aliena wrote it across the top of her parchment, adding beautiful flourishment to it. She watched as Accepted Amadine drew a circle on the board, and then separated it between the male and the female. Labeling the paper as it was on the board, she dazed out again, staring at the window. Her parchment soon became doodled with ivy along the one side.

 

A gasp brought her back to reality, and she listened to Accepted Amadine as she continued. “Saidar and Saidin are simply two halves of a whole. Neither evil, nor good, they just are. Saidin is often regarded as evil because of the madness which consumes men who can channel. Saidin itself is not evil, it was during the Sealing of the Bore on the Dark One’s prison that Dark One reached out as his final gesture and tainted Saidin. It is this taint on Saidin that drives men who can channel mad; they often kill others before they themselves are killed. The Red Ajah’s mission is to protect not only the world from men who can channel, but to protect them from themselves by gentling men they can find with the ability to channel Saidin.”

 

Ok, so there was evil in touching Saidin, and yet Saidin was not evil? Why would the Red Ajah even go about taking away these men's ability to channel if it wasn't evil? Why didn't the men just stop channeling? Wouldn't it have been easier for them to just stop doing it?

 

“Saidar remains clean and safe to use and it is with Saidar that Aes Sedai work. To wield Saidar we must first surrender to it and understand it. The One Power is made of five elements, Air, Water, Earth, Fire and finally Spirit. Generally women are strongest in Air and Water, whilst men are stronger in Earth and Fire. Spirit is split evenly between the two. You will probably find that you have an affinity with one or two of the elements; however, you must not let your studies lag in the other elements because as our weaves become more complex we use flows of more than one element.”

 

So they were going to control the basic elements. Aliena wondered if she would be able to control the nature around her, to make everything beautiful, like a drawing. “Set down your pens girls and close your eyes, we will now attempt to embrace Saidar.” Aliena set down her pen, and glanced at everyone else with their eyes clenched shut. She closed her eyes as well and tried to relax. This was, after all, why she was here, although she would rather just be in the library pouring through books right now.

 

“I want you to imagine a rosebud. Exclude everything from your thoughts except the rosebud. Become the rosebud, you are the rosebud. Think of nothing but the rosebud. Be the rosebud, feel the sun on your petals, feel the warmth of the sunlight and draw that warmth in. As you draw the warmth the rosebud opens and blooms.”

 

That had to be the stupidest exercise she had ever heard of. Was she kidding? Imagine a rosebud and feel it? These girls were such dolts, they had probably never even really studied a rosebud before, just giggled and thanked the boy that gave it to them. But, she would try it.

 

Keeping her eyes shut, she breathed in and out calmly, thinking of a rusebud. She thought about the way the petals all wrapped up around the center, the way the sun warmed it, and how as the heat reached further and further into the bud, it began to bloom. Suddenly, she felt a glow about her, and opened her eyes quickly. What in the light? So... that was Saidar. She shut her eyes again quickly, and tried again, becoming a part of the rosebud. She held it for as long as possible, her body surging with warmth. It was a wonderful and beautiful feeling. She could smell the flowers outside of the window, and could feel the heat of the sun seeping in. She held it for as long as possible, before the Accepted came to her and she opened her eyes with a jerk.

 

The warmth was gone, and Accepted Amadine was congratulating her. No wonder it took forever to reach Aes Sedai, if she wasn't even able to hold the One Power in peace! She went back to concentrating, and became lost in the power, her whole body floating on air. It felt glorious, and she wanted more! Of course, the Accepted then had to awaken her from her bliss again. “You will all release Saidar now. Congratulations to each of you, you have all taken the first step on your journey to control Saidar. I can see many of you are tired; working with Saidar takes more concentration than you would first imagine. It will take time for you to adjust to physical demands Saidar places on you.”

 

Aliena didn't want a break. She wanted more. She wanted to feel that glow again. She wanted the warmth on her skin and the smell of the flowers back in her nose. She had to practice more... take more classes. She had to find a tutor – someone that would allow her to channel more. That was a feeling she could not give up. “I will see you here again next week for second lesson in you Introduction to Saidar course. Class dismissed.”

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