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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Introduction to Saidar - Lesson Three


Amadine
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Amadine made her way back to the classroom she had used for the previous two Introduction to Saidar lessons and placed the basket she carried on the desk at the front of the room and sat down to await her class of Novices.

 

By ones and twos her students began filing into the classroom and taking their seats. “Good morning girls” she said brightly and smiled as the Novices murmured their replies.

 

“Today we are going to learn more about the nature of Saidar and what we can do with it.”

 

“Saidar is made up of five elements, Water, Air, Fire, Earth and Spirit. Women are generally stronger in Water and Air, while men are reportedly generally stronger when working with Earth and Fire. The ability in Spirit is equal. Each element appears a different colour when pulled into a thread. Usually the colours are green for Water, blue for Air, brown for Earth, red for Fire and silver or white for Spirit. Some channellers see slightly different colours and now we will find out the combinations for you. Take up your pens and write down the colour you see for each element.”

 

Amadine embraced Saidar and watched as a couple of the Novices’ eyes widened. “You just saw a glow around me didn’t you,” the Novices she addressed nodded, “From now on; you will see that glow around any woman who is holding Saidar. Don’t worry if you cannot see the glow yet, it will come soon enough.”

 

“First is Water” Amadine pulled a thick thread of Water and told the Novices to write down the colour they could see, she allowed the thread to dissipate then repeated the exercise for each of the other elements. Once they were done Amadine said “So did anyone see anything other than colours I described?”

 

Once the chatter died down again Amadine took a bowl and a handkerchief from her basket, she placed them on the desk and then took out a bottle of water. Unstopping the cork she filled the bowl. The Novices arrayed before her were watching intently as she set up. She pushed the handkerchief down into the bowl and held up the dripping scrap of fabric for the girls to see.

 

“Now I will use a weave of Water alone to dry out the handkerchief, watch carefully the way threads are combined.” It was a very simple weave; in fact it had been the first she had learned herself. Amadine carefully and with exaggerated slowness pulled the 2 threads of water required for the weave and twisted them together. As the last twisted was complete the water started to drip out of the fabric, then it became a small stream. As the final drops of water fell from the handkerchief she held it up for the class to see. It was perfectly dry. “Now you will try.”

 

Ama took out bowls and handkerchiefs for each of the Novices and passed them out. Then she moved around the room filling the bowls with water from the bottles she had brought with her in the basket.

 

Moving back to the front of the class she watched as the glow of Saidar sprang up around each of the girls. She then walked from Novice to Novice offering encouragement and helping where it was needed.

 

When they could all use the weave of water confidently, and the handkerchiefs were dry again, Ama took up her place at the front of the class again. She laid the handkerchief on the desk in front of her, “This time I will use Air to lift the handkerchief from the table.”

 

Amadine pulled the single thread of air and used it to lift the fabric square about two feet into the air. Then, tugging at the thread of Air, she made the handkerchief dance. “Now it’s your turn.”

 

Again Amadine made her way around the class, encouraging and assisting where necessary. When each of the girls could replicate the weave and make her handkerchief dance, Amadine moved back to the front of the room.

 

“Now remember, there is no channelling by any of you unless you are supervised by a Sister or an Accepted. If you feel you need some help you may approach me and if I have time between my own studies I will help you. Next week we will be working with Earth and Fire, but for today your lesson is done. Class dismissed.”

 

 

 

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“Good morning, Accepted Amadine,” Bennu said as she slid into a free desk at the front of the room again; much to her happiness, she'd been the first one in the classroom.

 

Mmm. Now we're getting into proper theory! she thought as the Accepted announced the subject for the day's lesson. The novice's quill flew across the paper as she carefully noted everything the instructor. How interesting. So that's how channeling works. It's not just pulling on the Source and telling it what to do; it's balancing the different elements against each other for different effects. The Tairen drew four lines across her paper. No, wait, five - Spirit does count. Oops.

 

Bennu's eyes widened as she saw Amadine embrace saidar. “Accepted, a question. Can we see men channel? You said women, but you didn't mention men.” The idea of men channeling made her shiver, but the Reds clearly had to have a way of knowing when they channeled so they could stop them.

 

Water, she said the first thread was. Bennu watched with fascination as the thread doubled in thickness. Duly she noted that it was bright blue. As would be expected.... The novice shrugged, and followed along as the Accepted showed the other elements that made up the Source.

 

She kept that in mind as Amadine began the second section of the lesson, and watched carefully as the Accepted performed the simple water weave. Compared to simply hanging onto the Source, actually doing something with the threads was rather easy once she figured out how to actually twist them in the first place. So wind this one this way, and the other this way.... The novice concentrated, making wringing motions with her hands as she did so, and felt a surge of triumph as she saw the first drips of water flow back into the bowl. And then her concentration slipped - she jerked just a little too hard on one thread, and got a squirt of water in the face.

 

“Bleah.” She spluttered, glaring at the soggy piece of cloth, ignoring the giggles of the classmates around her. Not what I intended. I can't force it. She did it again, and again till she had a handle on that task, then looked up for the next mission.

 

Air turned out to be much easier than water, mainly because it was only one thread she had to juggle for the task. However, keeping that one thread in place and not letting it blast everywhere was something of a trial. The first time she didn't channel enough in an effort to control the random nature of Air, and the blasted scrap of fabric lay there like a dead thing. Bennu found herself chasing the handkerchief as she blew it off her desk the first time she channeled enough, and shot it high into the air the second. A few more attempts and she found her balance, finally getting it to hover just above her hand.

 

By the end of the class, Bennu had a small headache thanks to all the work, plus not eating much at breakfast (as usual). And next week is Earth and Fire? She groaned. I hope I don't burn the Tower down!

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Elin sat in the classroom exhausted, her eyes puffy from lack of sleep. In the week since her last class with saidar, she had begun her classes in the Old Tongue. The language itself wasn't that much different than the Common Tongue, it simply had more forms, more varriants, and a much more complex vocabulary. There were new words for every slight change to a concept. A bright white rose had a different word than a cream colored rose, and light forbid you mistakenly use the word for a blood red rose when you simply meant a red one. She had spent the night copying vocabulary into her personal notes, working to remember them by rote. The words for food items were especially difficult, and were the reason she had been up almost to the bell for the kitchen staff to report for breakfast preparations.

 

When she realized that Amadine was actually going to weave the Power for them, she perked up. A small part of her feared that she wouldn't be able to see the threads of the Power because she was only aware of them because of Nile, but when Amadine spun each thread, they showed vividly for Elin. Amadine instructed them all to take notes on what the threads of the power looked like, mostly for color's sake, but for some reason, Amadine said Water should be green. That did not make sense to Elin, and when the Accepted pulled that thread of the Power out, Elin understood why. It could be called "green" but that would be to cheapen its true color. The thread of Water was a deep seagreen that Elin had only seen in tapestries and illustrations since she came to the Tower. It was almost as much blue as it was green. The air thread was another shade of blue altogether, much more like a robin's egg, or the bright, light blue of the early dawn sky. Earth and fire were their normal brown and red, though for Elin the thread of Earth was fuzzy for some reason. The thread of Spirit was a bright, shining thing. It almost seemed to sparkle for Elin's eyes.

 

After Amadine demonstrated the drying weave, Elin was excited. She and Nile would actually get to weave something deliberately. She accepted that before being sent away from Amadicia they'd been channeling unconsciously, but now she was in the Tower and they would learn to channel properly. When her bowl and cloth arrived, Elin set the cloth into the water and watched as it soaked in, then she gingerly picked it up by one corner, letting it drip into the bowl. Pulling Nile and the Power close, Elin thought about the two threads of water, and she felt Nile spin them. The two threads came together, just the way Amadine had shown them, and just the way Elin meant for them to fit. Nile was cooperating. She breathed out, and felt as Nile slowly tightened the weave, causing the water to flow out of the cloth. The weave must have been a bit too tight, because the water splattered all around the bowl, rather than falling neatly into it, the way Amadine's had. Elin let the cloth fall back into the water, and she and Nile tried again. And again. By their fourth attempt, they had just the right pressure to keep it neat.

 

Then it was time for Amadine to show them Air. After the demonstration, Elin was a bit put out. Had Amadine shown them that weave first, they could have used it to hold the cloths while drying them. Though, holding two weaves on their first day might be too much. She would be a laughing stock if she burned herself and Nile out simply from trying to hold two weaves in their third lesson.

 

Her irritation, and some embarrassment, fed into that part of her mind that connected her to Nile, and the simple thread of Air resolved into a knot that went off with a loud thunderclap. Her ears ringing, Elin blushed and ducked her head, hoping her classmates wouldn't see her shame. Trying again, she thought of the thread of air, and felt Nile spinning it out. Luckily, he didn't have any problems with the female strengths. This time, the thread of air gently hooked the cloth off the table and led it on a merry dance around the bowl of water.

 

By that time, Amadine excused them all again, and Elin grabbed her notes and books, darting from the room. Her plan was to get in a short nap before chores and her next lesson. It meant skipping lunch, but the hour of sleep would be well worth it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Milla walked into the classroom, absurdly grateful for a chance to not be scrubbing floors, or running kettles of water back and forth for the laundry. She knuckled her back, and slid into her accustomed seat grumbling to herself about slave labor, and this being the biggest racket in the world. "They trick you in here by getting you hooked on an addictive substance, promising you more of it, and then put you to work in the kitchens," she grumped, glaring at her mangled hands. And yet, she knew this ire was futile; she'd already made a conscious decision to stay and learn what she could... but this didn't make her like the so-called discipline that sweeping a path was supposed to give her!

 

A random basket at the front of the room caught her eye, but before she could think futher, Amadine addressed the class, "Today we are going to learn more about the nature of Saidar, and what we can do with it." The Accepted proceeded to explain the relative strengths in elements by gender, as well as commenting on the colors of the elements. Milla took up her pen as instructed, and proceeded to make notes on the colors she saw as Amadine channeled:

 

 

Water: Sort of blue-green, like the river

Air: Light blue, a bit like the sky

Spirit: Silvery-white

Earth: Brown

Fire: Red

 

 

She had thought she had noticed the hint of color before, so it made her happy to put name to face, as it were.

 

And then, the basket's purpose was revealed as a multitude of bowls and kerchiefs were unloaded. A simple-seeming demonstration was to be had, a way to dry said kerchief with the One Power. At least, it looked simple; putting what was shown into action was a different story altogether. Milla still wasn't especially adept at taking hold of Saidar, nor at making it do what she wanted it to do. At least water was an easy element to call once she did have a hold on Saidar, though it did take a few tries to get the twisting to work just so.

 

She was idly wondering if she could use the same weave to remove the bits of water that fell onto the desk when Amadine called the class back to attention. "This time I will use air to lift the handkerchief from the table," she said, before proceeding to demonstrate. This weave looked even easier, as one couldn't even call it a weave; there was only a single strand of Air involved! The young girl surrendered herself to Saidar, and poked at the bit of fabric with a thread of Air. It didn't dance exactly; it fell off the table instead. Looking around quickly, she retrieved it from the floor, placed it back on the desk, and tried again. This time, she managed to get the kerchief into the air. It took a few more false starts before she could keep it up there and make it 'dance', but it took less time and encouragement than she feared that it would.

 

Milandra was feeling almost cocky after all that success; perhaps learning channelling wouldn't be as difficult as they made it out to be. She still refused to believe that she'd have to spend the next several years at her studies, especially since she almost had it all figured out...

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  • 3 weeks later...

Rydia was terribly tired. Her novice whites were crinkled and stained. And she had to squint at the front of the room, since she was running late that morning and had to shuffle into the empty seat closest to the door at the last possible minute before class started. Otherwise Rydia would have earnt herself an upbraiding and possibly a demerit from Pia Sedai.

 

Well, it could be worse, or so she thought as she tried to pick out what Amadine was demonstrating. But the elemental flows emanating from the Accepted looked all wrong to Rydia. They were different tinges of colour. Fire was red, blue was Water, Yellow was Air, Spirit was white, and Earth was green instead. Rydia had a very easy time identifying Water, even though hers did not show as green. But she had scribed exactly what she saw anyway on the thin parchment they had been allotted. You do not get to have the thick parchments that are bound together until you progress into more advanced levels, although you still get the same number of quills. Rydia could live with that arrangement. She did not regard her intro lesson notes as worth keeping for purposes beyond revision anyway.

 

It was fascinating, however, to see the flows from Amadine’s body as the power coursed through her. It was the act of channeling. But whenever Rydia touched Saidar it always seemed to surround her, not flow from within her. She wondered how she looked to the other students. Some of the novices claimed they had seen glows around each other, but that glow of power too, eluded Rydia.

 

As did the two weaves of drawing and drying that they were taught. Utterly, utterly defeated, Rydia marched back once dismissed from the lecture feeling no better than she was earlier.

 

Although, she was considerably more repentant.

 

“Alright, Tilly?” Rydia knocked before entering their room.

 

“Alright,” came the soft reply from.

 

“Sorry about earlier,” said Rydia as she flopped into her bed, slippers on and everything “I behaved like an idiot. I’m just having problems coping with my classes.”

 

“Classes? You only have one every day.”

 

“Yeah but you know, the scholastic lifestyle, the lectures, homework.”

 

Tilly absorbed it slowly “the scholastic lifestyle, eh? Why not.”

 

Rydia heard a soft wheezing noise she had never heard before coming from the corner of the room where Tilly sat. At first Rydia thought an animal had gotten in. Then she saw the curl of her roommate’s back toward her, and took in the sight of Tilly’s shoulders shaking. Alarmed, to say the least, Rydia rushed toward Tilly and saw the strangest expression on her reticent roommate’s face.

 

Rydia blushed. “. . . That’s the first time I ever heard you laugh.”

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  • 2 months later...

Leala, thank the Light, did not need a rag over her face to wash dishes. In fact, the allergens that had irritated her eyes and her lungs the week before seemed to lessen with the room fill with steam rising from hot water. She could breathe easily and preferred this chore to the more dusty and dirty ones. She picked up a small stack of plates that she had finished washing and placed them into their appropriate places. She and a couple other Novices dispersed from the room after their task had been done. She didn't recognize either of them as her classmates, but nodded to them before leaving. She heard them whispering amongst themselves as they went a separate way. Because of the the tones in their hushed voices, she assumed they were gossiping about her cold nature. She was beginning to want friends that were Novices as well. It was not a normal thing to feel lonely in a place with so many people. Her mood lightened a bit, though, as she remembered that today was her third lesson in Saidar. She hoped they would be able to explore the great potential of what she had felt in the last two lessons.

 

Finding the classroom once again, her pale hand opened the door. She noticed that the dishwater had left a slight film on her hand. Someone would have to wash the knob. Her mind left chores again when she entered the room. Her usual seat in the front of the room was filled, so she graciously sat in a seat in the second row. Again, Accepted Amadine stood in front of the room and began the lesson with a lecture on the elements that could be found in Saidar. Her eyes brightened a bit when she realized that her hopes for this lesson would be realized. She would be able to explore the elements. She took out her parchment and loaded her pen, taking notes on the colors mentioned that marked the elements in usual circumstances. She watched as the Accepted pulled a thread from her hold on Saidar. The thread of Water looked green to her, but with more of a tinge of blue than was needed. She wrote that Water was perceived as blue green in her case. It was a beautiful color.

 

Before Amadine continued, she set up a demonstration and showed them how to wring out a rag with two simple weaves of Water. Leala was happy that she was able to not only see the glow around her teacher, but also the clear and bright color of the weave of Water. The young noble's heart leapt when her own bowl and handkerchief were presented to her. She was so excited to finally see that she could do this like all the girls around her. When permission was given, Leala quickly found the place in her mind that she had found in the last lesson and embraced Saidar. She felt jubilant and happy. For the first time, the Novice from Andor reach into the power that she had grown to love and pulled out a thread of the brilliant color. Almost surprisingly easily, she pulled another thread of Water next to it. This felt natural to her as she wove the simple weave shown to her. When she finished and the rag was completely dry, she looked around and noticed that she had finished before most everyone else. Maybe she had an affinity for this element.

 

Soon after everyone else finished the simple exercise, Accepted Amadine returned to her post at the head of the classroom. This time taking a blue weave of Air, she began a new exercise. Leala quickly jotted down the color of Air that she saw. She watched as the instructor at the front of the room lifted the rag into the air, and then even made it wriggle in front of her. Again, she reached into Saidar and found the element Air. Upon taking it out, she found that it was a little harder for her to control than Water. It seemed stiffer than the previous thread, but after a while, she successfully lifted the rag easily. With a little encouragement from Amadine, she tugged the thread as she had seen and the rag danced as it hovered above her. The tight feeling in her chest that had accrued while she had not notice relaxed in having finished the second exercise. Air was not as hard to control has she had thought when it resisted more than Water. She could apply this tot he lesson before about control.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Skipping into the class on light feet, Riana took a seat near the front of the room. The Accepted leading the class smiled at her, and she replied joyfully: “Good day!” Once again, there were quills and parchment laid on the desk -- Riana had her own, but it would not be wise, running through corridors and stairwells wielding the thing. As the class began, the Accepted demonstrated the five elements of the power. Auriane already knew a little of this, the Brown Aes Sedai who had been teaching her to read and write well tended to ramble, and Riana had picked up a few small titbits of information she barely understood. The thread of Water was a lush green, and the Air was turquoise. She saw Earth as rich, reddish, like clay, Fire was pale orange and Spirit gleamed silver like a strand of her old grandmother’s hair. Feeling uncomfortable writing these down in detail, Auriane merely wrote: “Green. Blue. Brown. Red. Grey.” She would ask for help later.

 

Also on her desk was a shallow basin of water, with a plain white handkerchief folded neatly beside it. Riana wondered if other Novices had set up this room, who had already learned these things. Following the Accepted’s example, she soaked the handerchief, then wrung out most of the water, so that it was still wet, yet not messy. She knew how easy it was to make a mess, and did not want to, should she have difficulty with the task. It was similar to the weaving her mother had tried to teach her at home. She had been abysmal, but, this was less difficult. Well, difficult for different reasons. Weaving with her mind; it was mental dexterity she needed here, not manual, thank the Light. Biting her lip, Riana managed to drain the handkerchief of water, but missed the basin and most of it ended up on the floor, wetting her shoes. She frowned. Holding the handkerchief with a tanned hand, Auriane caused the thing to flutter like an apple blossom in a spring breeze with a single strand of Air. Concentrating harder, she gradually strengthened the weave, and dropped her handhold on the handkerchief. Miraculously, it remained floating, but she held her hand beneath it, just in case. Smiling, Riana repeated the exercises until the class was ended. She mopped up the spilled water with her handkerchief, and danced out of the classroom. She was on kitchen duty until dinner, and knew she must keep her mind happy and occupied to keep hunger at bay.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Rushing to class like normal, Aliena slid to a halt as she made it into the classroom at just the right time. Slipping into her desk in the back row, she noticed a basked sitting on the front desk. All of the other girls were too busy giggling to notice anything, but Ali was already trying to figure out what was inside. She didn't have to wait long. “Good morning girls,” said Accepted Amadine, and Ali was already about to tune out. Oh goodie, another class of boredom...

 

“Today we are going to learn more about the nature of Saidar and what we can do with it.” Alright... that didn't sound SO bad. Just as long as it wasn't a class that sounded more like a warning about being an Aes Sedai than explaining what a blessing and how lucky they were all. Ali had to be honest with herself – it wasn't a right to be able to touch the One Power, it was a gift, but no one acted like it was! Most either considered it a curse, or else something they deserved.

 

“Saidar is made up of five elements, Water, Air, Fire, Earth and Spirit. Women are generally stronger in Water and Air, while men are reportedly generally stronger when working with Earth and Fire. The ability in Spirit is equal. Each element appears a different colour when pulled into a thread. Usually the colours are green for Water, blue for Air, brown for Earth, red for Fire and silver or white for Spirit. Some channellers see slightly different colours and now we will find out the combinations for you. Take up your pens and write down the colour you see for each element.”

 

Ali picked up her pen then glanced at the Accepted. Something was different about her. She looked more poised, and had the Aes Sedai glow... wait, there was a glow? It was like a burst of sunshine around her, but even... glowier... if that made any sense. “You just saw a glow around me didn’t you? From now on; you will see that glow around any woman who is holding Saidar. Don’t worry if you cannot see the glow yet, it will come soon enough.” Well, that would certainly turn out to be useful.

 

“First is Water.” [/color] Aliena watched as what looked like a thick piece of thread, a green with a heavy blue tint. Next came a blue as blue as the sky for Air, followed by a brown that had a hint of red for Earth, a hot red for Fire, and finally, a white with silver flecks for Air. It was beautiful, almost like poetry. There was no way, not with all the resources in the world, that she could replicate the beautiful colors she just saw. It was mesmerizing, and she wanted to create beautiful art with the threads.

 

The Accepted then pulled a bowl and a hankerchief from inside of the basket, and filled the bowl with water from a bottle. Ali watched her soak the hankerchief, and then hold it up, dripping wet. “Now I will use a weave of Water alone to dry out the handkerchief, watch carefully the way threads are combined.”

 

Slowly, Ali watched two blueish-green threads dance before her eyes, and intertwine, working their way through the hankerchief. Water began to run from the fabric, and within a few seconds, it was completely dry. “Now you will try.”

 

Looking down at her bowl filled with water, Ali didn't even know where to begin. How did she grasp the water? Filling herself with Saidar, Ali concentrated on the water in the bowls. Dipping her hankerchief into the water, Ali concentrated hard, imagining a thread of water before her. It took a few brief moments, but suddenly, the water was draining from the hankerchief. It was so easy! She never even knew it was possible! The water quickly refilled the bowl, and Ali thought she would faint.

 

Repeating the process, she tried to slow down and speed up the removal of the water, and had no struggle at all. She knew that females were supposed to have an easier time with Water and Air, but was it supposed to be this easy? She saw other girls struggling, but this almost felt as though she was doing it for years. She wanted to play more with the water thread, but knew she would have to wait until another time.

 

“This time I will use Air to lift the handkerchief from the table.” A beautiful thin wisp of sky blue danced in the air, and lifted the hankerchief. It floated there, and then began to whip back and forth as the Air commanded. “Now it’s your turn.”

 

Looking down at her hankerchief, Ali concentrated hard and pulled at the air around her, trying to form a thread. And nothing happened. Trying again, she then realized that this wouldnot be as easy as the water. No matter, if she had to work a little harder at Air, then he would do so. She shouldn't expect everything to be as easy as what must be her stronget element. Accepted Amadine had said that women were strongest in Water and Air, and it was clear that Air, she would just have to work at. No problem!

 

Trying again, Ali concentrated, feeling herself filled with the power. The thread formed slowly at first, but as soon as she caught it, the thread formed itself and picked up the hankerchief. Making it dance took a little while as well, but she got it and watched with delight at the power within her.

 

“Now remember, there is no channelling by any of you unless you are supervised by a Sister or an Accepted. If you feel you need some help you may approach me and if I have time between my own studies I will help you. Next week we will be working with Earth and Fire, but for today your lesson is done. Class dismissed.”

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