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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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Kathleen

The Time Has Come (Kathleen's Testing and Oaths)

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OOC: Being called to the Testing -- It's really long, so I'm breaking into sections, each one is preceded with the topic of each post so you can skim to the parts you want to read if you don't want to read it all at one (or at all ;) )

 

Kathleen was sitting in the dinning hall enjoying a late lunch. Most of the room was deserted with a few small pockets of Novices who had been busy during the main part of the lunch hour, most likely bringing some Aes Sedai their lunch. Kathleen sat alone but she wasn't upset. She was not in the mood to be around people. She had a bit of rough day and was starting to feel her afternoon slump settling in. She was hoping the soup and roll she had gotten would be enough to give her the boost she needed to get her feeling like normal again. Just as she was finishing the last little bit she saw Pia Sedai enter the dining hall. At first Kathleen paid no attention, it was not unusual for the Mistress of Novices to take a late lunch but there did seem to be something strange about it today. As the Gray got closer and Kathleen took the last sip of her drink she realized what made her feel so strange, Pia was not heading toward the food, but directly toward Kathleen, and the Mistress of Novices was wearing her shawl.

 

As Pia reached the table Kathleen was suprised at she said, "Kathleen Vandiar, you are summoned to be tested for the shawl of an Aes Sedai. The Light keep you whole and see you safe." The novices across the dining room all stopped their conversation and stared as Kathleen slowly took in what the Aes Sedai had just said and rose to meet her. Kathleen followed the Mistress of Novices out of the dining hall and down into the depths of the White Tower. They walked in silence but Kathleen's mind had never been more a buzz. She had known this day was coming for some time, but she was not expecting it today.

 

As they walked underground through the surprisingly large and well lit corridors Kathleen hardly even took in the magnificence of it all as she tried to settle the bundle of nerves settling into her stomach and slow the stream of thoughts and worries that filled her head. She was quickly going through the list of 100 weaves in the order she had memorized over the last few years, just to review one more time, when they arrived at the extraordinary doors. At first Kathleen didn't know what she was looking at and it wasn't until she really looked that she saw what she thought was an impossibly large polished gate far under the Tower. Just as Kathleen was trying to figure out how to get in she saw the glow of Saidar encompass the Mistress of Novices and to Kathleen's surprise the massive doors silently opened.

 

The chamber that opened up to them was large, circular and domed. The walls were white stone and ringed with stand-lamps whose light was reflected onto them making the chamber glaringly bright when compared to the halls they were leaving. In the center of the room directly beneath the dome, there was a large oval ring standing on its end. At well over a span in height and around a pace across at its widest point it was the largest ter'angreal Kathleen had even seen. It seemed to change colour over and over and always showing a new colour, sometime the colours even seemed to mix. Just as Kathleen noticed that it was somehow standing unsupported and wished she could study it up close she heard the Mistress of Novices say, "Attend," and Kathleen noticed the 7 other women all dressed in a different coloured shawl, one for each Ajah, rise and move to form a circle around Pia and Kathleen. As much as Kathleen's thoughts were all over the place she had held her posture and composure since the moment she had risen from the dining hall table. She knew the immense amount of importance there was in the way she carried herself so she tried to stay composed and calm and hold herself as the Aes Sedai she would hopefully soon become.

 

As the Sisters completed the ring around them Pia said began the ceremony as she spoke and Kathleen knew how she was to respond and the dialog rolled off the women's tongues almost without having to think about it.

 

"You come in ignorance, Kathleen Vandiar . How would you depart?"

 

"In knowledge of myself."

 

"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."

 

As soon as the required words were spoken Kathleen began to undress. Pia continued, "Therefore I will instruct you. You will see this sign upon the ground." She said as she channeled and drew a six pointed star in the air with her finger in front of Kathleen. While Kathleen watched Pia draw the star she felt a Sister behind her embrace Saidar and when Kathleen felt the weave lightly touch the back of her head her heart fluttered in surprise but the girl barley blinked. She hadn't been expecting that, but Kathleen knew that almost all of the process tonight was to see if she could keep her composure when put to the test so even though she wasn't expecting this she knew the Aes Sedai wouldn't hurt her and she didn't let her surprise show.

 

When Pia had finished drawing the star another Sister spoke, "Remember what must be remembered." and Pia continued saying, "When you see that sign, you will go to it immediately, at a steady pace, neither hurrying nor hanging back, and only then may you embrace the Power. The weaving required must begin immediately, and you may not leave that sign until it is completed."

 

The other Sister spoke again, "Remember what must be remembered."

 

And Pia replied, "When the weave is complete, you will see that sign again, marking the way you must go, again at a steady pace, without hesitation."

 

The other Sister replied, "Remember what must be remembered."

 

And Pia spoke again,"One hundred times will you weave, in the order you have been given and in perfect composure."

 

One last time the other Sister spoke, "Remember what must be remembered."

 

When the words were spoken Kathleen could feel the weave the Sister behind her had been channeling settle into her and all the Sisters, save the Mistress of Novices, began to take their places kneeling in a circle around the ter'angreal. When they were all kneeling on the stone floor Kathleen saw them all embrace the Saidar and begin to channel and each made the same complicated weave of all five powers. As they did the colours in the ter'angreal began to shift ever faster until it was flashing like a kaleidoscope.

 

As the others left to begin this formation around the ter'angreal Kathleen continued to remove the last few articles of clothing. She was still uncomfortable disrobing in front of others, but she had done it for her Arches and she would do it for this a million times over. She noticed the Mistress of Novices leering at her and she was embarrassed as the last article of clothing was removed but much to her surprise she managed not to blush or show any sign that this was making her uncomfortable and as she folded her stockings and set them on top of her neatly folded dress she noticed the Great Serpent ring she wore on her finger and she slid it off and placed it on top of her clothes. With all of her worldly belongings out of her contact Kathleen calmly stood to meet the eye of the Mistress of Novices.

 

As she stood the ter'angreal in the center of the room turned a solid white, and the air in the opening of it glowed with all the appearance of true pure light. Then the ring slowly and more curiously, silently, began to revolve on its base. No one spoke and Kathleen knew what must be done, it was time and with out hesitation she slowly began her steady walk toward the revolving ter'angreal, it is really time, she thought as approached it and carefully and confidently stepped through the center of the glowing structure.

Edited by Kathleen

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OOC: 100 Weaves

 

 

As Kathleen stepped out of the ter'angreal she had no recollection of where she was or how exactly she got there. She had no recollection of why she bareskinned. All she knew was that she must, above all else, keep her composure and stay calm no matter what she was to face. Kathleen looked around and saw a simple dress folded on the ground by her feet she knew it hadn't been there when she arrived, but if it was there now. She bent down and picked up the dress and the soft material ran threw her fingers. Patiently Kathleen began to dress, still unsure of her surroundings. As the dress fell into place she saw the sign of the six pointed star in the distance and the girl began to walk toward it. She wasn't sure what would happen when she got there but she knew she had to walk to it. As she stepped up to the sign the world around her began to change.

 

Just like in her Arches she was back in her home town, but this time it did not feel like home. The place looked familiar and she knew where she was, she knew the people she saw but she was not inclined to run out them. As she embraced the Source to begin the weave of Air she saw her family home burst into flames. As the weave she was making began to take form she could hear her brother's screams from inside the house. Kathleen watched as the neighbours ran for water and as much she wanted to run and help she calmly stood and continued to make the coin sized silver-blue disc and caught it in her hand as she finished. The scene around her was complete chaos as buckets were brought and thrown on the fire, but the flames grew higher and her brother's cries grew weaker. All her old friends were calling her for help but Kathleen could see the glowing star in the distance and she steadily strolled by the chaos of the burning house to reach it.

 

As Kathleen stepped up to the glowing symbol the image of the world around her shifted. She was standing naked again and just as before she found clothes by her feet where they hadn't been before. She carefully dressed, making sure not to rush or dawdle and then the world began to change again. 98 more times this repeated itself, each time Kathleen would dress and walk forward, the images around her would change to ever stranger, more distracting and more frightening things. Every time she would do what she could to stay alive but her main focus was always on whichever of the 100 weaves she was on. More times than not the scenes around her were so disturbing she found it almost impossible to keep her composure and stay calm, but somehow she always found a way. There were times she thought she would surely die and the wounds on her body didn't give her any more reason to think she would live through this, but she always managed to refrain from showing her distress, and calmly continue channeling each of the weaves as she had practiced and then somehow she always made her way to the next glowing star. Every time she went through she would loose the memory of what had happened just before, but the wounds would stay and new challenges would come.

 

When she finally stepped into the last star symbol into the domed chamber in the basement of the White Tower the thoughts all came clear from what had just happened. She remembered each frightful scenario she had been put in and she remembered how calmly she performed all 100 required weaves. She wanted to fall to the floor and weep, she wasn't sure if it was from the memories of her trials sinking in or the cuts and bruises on her arms and legs, or just the shear exhaustion she felt from it all, but it was all she could do to muster up what was needed to stand straight up and keep her composer.

 

As Pia Sedai stepped up she clapped her hands together loudly as she spoke, "It is done. Let no one ever speak of what has passed here. It is for us to share in silence with she who experienced it. It is done." She then clapped her hands again before continuing, "Kathleen Vandiar , you will spend tonight in prayer and contemplation of the burdens you will take up on the morrow, when you don the shawl of an Aes Sedai. It is done."

 

When the Mistress of Novices finished she clapped her hands together once more and promptly turned and left through the gate like doors. When Pia was out of the room the Sisters who had been kneeling by the large oval ter'angreal came to check on Kathleen. They consoled her and the Yellow Sister healed what she could of Kathleen's wounds As Kathleen began to dress herself the women explained to her that what she had been through in the ter'angreal had been made by them, and Kathleen wanted to slap them all for putting her through what they had, but she knew what they did was necessary and she was glad that they did come to her when she was done. When Kathleen had her Accepted's dress back on and put her ring back on her finger the women left the large room and two of the sisters escorted her up threw the levels to her room.

Edited by Kathleen

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OOC: In her room during the reflection night

 

Kathleen was so tired after the test, so scared and so exhilarated at the same time. It was almost done. The hard part was over. As the memories filled her head again she had to reenforce that it was over, but deep down she knew it was. Over, she thought, the hard part is over, not just the 100 weaves, but all of it, my training is really over. For two decades I've been training, learning, preparing for this, and now its here.

 

Kathleen looked around at her little room as she picked at the meal that had been left for her when she returned from the testing. She studied the small simple space, tried to memorize every detail from the position of the pillow on her bed to the angle of her papers that she kept so precisely on the left hand side of her little desk to the texture of the walls. This would be her last night here. After years of waking in the morning and tucking the blankets snugly into her little bed, and staying up late hunched over her desk reviewing all the lessons she had been taught that day, to all the time she spent making sure everything was in its place and her room was just how she liked it, this was really the last of it. She knew there would always be new things to learn, but it would never be the same.

 

As Kathleen straightened out the hem of her Accepted dress it hit her for the first time that she had no idea of what she would do now. She knew her place as a Novice, and now she had become all it meant to be Accepted, she had learned all she could about the world out there and what she was expected to do with her knowledge and her position in the world. She learned all she could about the way the White Tower works. She learned all she could about every Ajah, where it came from, what its purpose is. She had learned all anyone could learn from studying, but now it was time to learn what it was really all about. The only thing left was to experience it all for herself. There is only so much you can learn from hearing other people's opinions and experience, and after years of studying this it was almost impossible to believe that as of tomorrow she would be experiencing all of it herself. Making her own stories to tell, making her own decisions of where she goes, what she does and when she does it.

 

Of course she knew she would have still have people telling her what to do, and she knew she would have to listen, but that is true of anyone in the world, there are always people above you, there was always a lord or lady to put you in your place and there was always a king or queen to put them in their place and there was always the Amyrlin to put the monarch in their place, but no longer would the orders be to scrub the floor or fetch a lazy Aes Sedai her lunch, the orders she would have now would mean something. They would make a difference. Oh yes, at first there may be a little meaningless orders from the Ajah Head, just to make sure Kathleen still knew her place, she may be Aes Sedai, but she had to be sure to remember she did not have the experience and wisdom of the others who have had years to learn what all that position means. That would only last so long though, and after two decades of being put in her place and reminded that she was not Aes Sedai yet she knew that a few more years as the lowest Aes Sedai was going to be not a problem at all.

 

As Kathleen ran her fingers over the bands in her dress she realized that she would soon be making the choice to pick one of these colours to represent her. Had she used her time as Accepted wisely. Yes she had learned about all of them, but she still wasn't sure if she was making the right choice. As she starting thinking of which Ajah she would be joining the next day she wondered if she had really given each Ajah a real chance, was she making the right decision? As Accepted she had thought of herself as a part of all of them, even though she knew she wasn't of any Ajah yet, and if she could pick them all she would, but she knew that she had to chose one, and when she did any link she had to learning the innermost workings of the other Ajahs would be gone. She knew that she shouldn't pick an Ajah just because she wanted to know its secrets, or because she was interested in studying its histories, the real ones, not the sweetened versions she had heard in the Ajah Classes.

 

Kathleen didn't know whether to laugh or worry as she realized how many times she had thought she had known which Ajah she would choose. She knew that there were some girls who knew before they ever saw the White Tower on the horizon where they would end up, and she knew there were others who had a hard time choosing between two or three. She didn't know how many there were like her, who had found that she was sure of which one it would be at several points through out her years as Novice and Accepted, just to find it change and then think she knew again to have it change once more.

 

Kathleen remembered well the day she saw the White Tower, still mostly in disbelief that the place really existed, but filled with so many emotions she couldn't hold back her tears. She remembered facing Pia Sedai, the Mistress of Novices, and the feeling she got from making that smooth stone shine just for that short time, she didn't really believe that she had been the one who did it and she had even questioned Pia to be sure the other woman hadn't done it. Her mother had told her many stories of Aes Sedai and when Kathleen learned that she could be one she had thought that she would like to be one of the Yellows. She had helped her mother in what were the woman's last days, and surely if she had not come to the Tower Kathleen would have been a nursemaid, she was filled with the desire to help heal the sick and wounded, too many were dying where they should be able to live, but after a few months at the Tower Kathleen realized that while being a Yellow would mean that she could save the lives of many, and heal those that others thought a lost cause, she could do still do that and so much more if she chose another Ajah. She still had those desires, but knew that she could do more.

 

After a few more months as Novice she had realized how curious she was. How strongly she desired to know more about everything. Where things came from, how they worked, what their purpose was and how they could be used to benefit people. She kept to herself and analyzed everything down to last detail, she often got in trouble for being in her head so much that she would loose focus on what was going on around her, and many a person told her she would be a Brown someday. For so long it was what she desired.

 

There was time that she started coming out of her shell and learning to balance research and the real world. She found that she began to analyze everything, she would not say anything unless she knew what she was saying and could back it up, she would find what it took, and she would find a way to understand everything around her and everything was faced with, and she would always look at it from all angles. She naturally kept her own thoughts and opinions out of everything she said and did, until all other opinions were voiced and thought of and then she would weigh it all. It wasn't a conscious choice she made, its just what she did, for a long time she thought everyone worked like that. It made the most sense. Look at everything from as many perspectives as you can, think about how your actions will work in the long run, try to find a way that pleases everyone and when that isn't possible do what gives the most benefit to the most amount of people and will cause the least amount of damage.

 

The only thing she couldn't use this process for was determining if she should be a White or Gray. She knew she would make a good fit in either, but it was when she thought of what she would do as a either that turned her off them. She didn't want to be a judge and hear people complain all day. Yes she wanted to make important decisions and change the world, and yes she wanted to help as many people as she could, but doing these things would be constantly helping others with their problems and while that would give her satisfaction she knew its not really what she wanted to do with her life. She also knew that if she were in another Ajah she could still use her brain to figure things out and solve conflicts but she could do so much more.

 

When Kathleen became an Accepted and had the ability to choose her own studies she found herself studying the breaking, the taint, the shadow and she found herself very curious about it all. She felt her pull of healing it all make her wish to pursue this. She thought about joining the Reds as they deal with this on a daily basis. She could get so much information on what there is known about the taint on the male half of the One Power, she wanted to find a way to fix it. There had to be a way to separate the taint from the pureness of the Power, and she wanted to find a way to save the men. She knew that would be a challenge to be a Red who wanted to save the men, and not just save them from the torture of going mad and hurting the people they love. Maybe if we let them live a little longer while we monitor them we could see if there are some men who don't go mad, or if we can find a formula to determine how long they have until they go mad, she had thought, if we kept them alive and studied them maybe would could save some of them. She knew that these thoughts were more closely related to Yellows, Whites, and Browns and that they were very much not in the mind set of Reds and Kathleen was thinking she would probably not have the support of her Red Sisters to pursue this and she didn't know what she would do as a Red if she did not have the support. Of course she also sadly realized that if she was not a Red she would never get sanctioned to do these sorts of experiments from any other Ajah.

 

That left Blue and Green. And for so long in her time as Accepted it had come down to these two. She has spent some time with Sisters from both Ajahs and it took her a very long time to choose. When she had first learned about the different Ajahs and the purpose of each she was always concerned with the Blues. She could never figure out what the purpose was. They were said to be the Ajah where you serve your own cause, but Kathleen couldn't see how you wouldn't get that in any other Ajah. If you know your cause you go to the Ajah which it fits in. But a point was made in her Blue Ajah class about how people change over the years, and Kathleen had already seen how much she changed through out her years as a Novice and her years as Accepted. She knew that she could very well change her views and ideals and desires again many times before she died, and the Blues seemed to be the most flexible.

 

Kathleen had often thought that the Blue Ajah has the most ability and freedom to follow truly what you desire to follow, and often thought it was the Ajah you pick when you can't decide on one, or when you wish you could join them all. The other Ajahs seemed limited to what the rest of the Sisters will focus on, but the Blues seemed not to have a focus. As she learned in the Blue Ajah class they did in fact have a purpose, it was a very wide purpose and the one that was truest to the purpose of the Tower. As the whole White Tower and every Aes Sedai's purpose is to serve, this in its self is the purpose of the Blues. No wonder they seemed to have no real structured walls of what Blue Sisters can do, they serve the world in whatever way they can and in what ever way the world needs them to serve it. This did seem appealing as Kathleen could clearly see that Ajah would allow her the most freedom and support and ability to use what she loved about all the Ajahs, but some how this didn't feel right to Kathleen.

 

Her feelings confused her because this Ajah seemed to have the freedom she desired to really utilize the benefit of all the Ajahs, but it felt so vague to her still. With so many different causes and ways to serve, with so many different mind sets and ways of thinking from the Sisters in that Ajah, how would she be able to relate to them, and how many of them could relate to her? The Blue Ajah class raised the question of what she wanted to do as an Aes Sedai when the question of what would her cause be if she were a Blue came up. She had thought long and hard about it, and answered that her cause would be to solve conflicts. Even if she didn't choose Blue Kathleen knew that this would be her motivation no matter what Ajah she chose.

 

As much as she tried to make it work, to believe she belonged with the Blues, she just couldn't feel it. It always seemed forced. It seemed like the choice she should make in an intellectual sense, but it just didn't feel right, and she knew that she couldn't pick an Ajah because it made sense but didn't feel right, this was who she would be for the rest of her life, and it had to feel right. Whichever Ajah she chose she would make sure it felt right and she knew it wouldn't feel right if it didn't make sense.

 

That left the Greens. It wasn't a choice of ruling out all the others and ending up with the Greens as a last resort. It was a result of ruling out the other Ajahs in hopes of finding one where she could use all of what the others stood for in a focused way. She wanted to do it all, and feel like part of a team working together, yet be able to strongly go her way and feel like she could hold her own. Her motivation as Aes Sedai was to be able to solve conflicts and what better place for someone with that purpose than the Green Ajah. When she first learned about the Battle Ajah Kathleen had thought nothing more of them than over the top bullies. Surely there were better ways to handle a situation than to go running off, head first into a battle. That not only puts your life in danger but the lives of your Warders. Wasn't the point of Warders to have someone to protect you and to fight for you so you wouldn't get hurt?

 

The more Kathleen thought about it the more respect she had for the women of the Green Ajah. Of course they all don't go running off on a killing spree at the first sign of hostility, there are other things to try first, and no not every conflict needs violence to fix it. In those cases the Greens would stand just as firmly and fight just as strongly without violence, but in the odd time that violence is the only answer these are the ones who stand ready to take it all on. They will stand, defend and protect those who cannot do it themselves. And they aren't carelessly throwing their Warders into unnecessary danger. If there is another way to solve a conflict it will be tried, but when the time comes that there is no other option than to stand and fight not only do these women stand for what they believe or what needs to be stood for, they will not just let their warders jump into danger to protect them, they will fight alongside their Warders to protect them as well. The Greens truly did feel right for Kathleen both in her head and in her heart.

 

There are many kinds of conflicts in the world, most can be solved by using your brain and your tongue and Kathleen was sure that as a Green that would be known and highly regarded. She had prided herself in her ability of quick thinking and gentle wording to successfully defuse tense situations and her ability to use her brain to get her out of tough situation and to quickly find ways to solve disputes between people in a way that is satisfactory to all people involved. Which is part of why so many people thought she would go Gray. Kathleen loved the feeling that gave her, but she knew there was more to her than that. As a Green she could still use this quality, maybe to make more of an impact than if she were a Gray. Kathleen wanted to save peoples lives and by defending them and standing up for them she would be. She could use the healing weaves to give fallen Sisters and their Warders the ability to keep going just that little bit longer and that would be the best kind of help for a lot of people. Kathleen also knew from experience that some times you need more than words can give you, sometimes you need to know how to defend yourself without the One Power, the worst feeling in the world is being helpless and in danger. Too many Aes Sedai take for granted that they have the Power to protect them and keep danger at bay, but Kathleen knew all to well that sometimes you can't channel. What happens if you are shielded, or even just somewhere where to channel would put you or others in more danger? You need to be able to protect yourself without the power just as well as you can with it.

 

Kathleen pushed the memories of the Whitecloak camp out of her mind as she stood up from the small chair she had been sitting on. She walked over to her little bed, sat down and as she straightened out her Accepted dress she ran her fingertips over the bands on it. As her fingers reached the green band the Great Serpent ring on her hand caught the light from her candle and Kathleen couldn't help but smile. She had made up her mind, and this time she knew it was the only choice for her.

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OOC: The Oaths

 

Kathleen woke early and was surprisingly well rested. She knew just how much she had been through the night before and she had spent much of the night awake thinking of her past years at the Tower and the future of what would be started today. She was excited but mostly she was nervous. She made her bed and straightened the things on her desk like she did every morning and then she put on a new dress and brushed her hair into a simple but elegant braid and then wrapped the braid into a small bun. When she was just finishing putting her long brown hair up she heard a knock on her door. Her stomach turned to flutters but she composed herself and tried to prepare for what she knew was on the other side. When she opened the door there was one Sister from each Ajah and Kathleen silently followed them through the halls and back down into the depths of the White Tower where Kathleen had been tested the day before.

 

When the group arrived at the door the Amyrlin and Keeper were waiting ready for them. When the Amyrlin spoke the ceremony began and Kathleen fell in with the response she knew by heart.

 

"Who comes here?" the Amyrlin asked. Kathleen gave her name and the Amyrlin continued, "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."

 

Kathleen entered the chamber and saw the Amyrlin framed by the ter'angreal and the Keeper holding a velvet pillow with the oath rod sitting upon it. The entire Hall lined the walls of the room. Kathleen looked around at each group of Sisters seated grouped in together with others of their Ajah, one person in each group was holding an extra shawl of their Ajah's colours. Kathleen made her way through the oval ter'angreal and faced the Amyrlin. The Amyrlin took the rod from the pillow and held it out for Kathleen. The girl grasped it and held it with a strong steady hand, finally this moment was really here. She had been imagining this moment for years and now that it was really happening Kathleen couldn't really process it, it didn't seem real, but she knew it was.

 

When Kathleen had the oath rod in her grasp she took a steadying breath and began her oaths. She spoke loudly enough so all could hear and she kept her voice calm and clear between each oath she paused for a brief breath and then quickly continued.

 

"Under the Light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth, I vow that I will speak no word that is not true."

 

"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."

 

"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."

 

Kathleen struggled to keep her face from showing her emotion as she felt her skin tighten as each of the oaths settled in to her. She was surprised at the physical feel of the oaths setting in, but she was also bursting with emotional excitement and pride, she was Aes Sedai, and it was real. The Amyrlin spoke, "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." As Kathleen rose the Oath Rod was taken from her and replaced on the pillow. Kathleen turned to look out on the Ajahs. She had thought long and hard on what her choice would be, and as she looked at each group of women her eyes fell on the one she had decided on. Looking out at the group of women who she would hopefully be joining Kathleen confidently began her walk toward the Greens. As she soon as it became clear that is where she was heading the other Ajah's members filed out of the chamber. When everyone was gone Kathleen was left standing with the Greens waiting to hear her fate.

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Loraine reached for the shawl hanging by her door, slipping it on her shoulders. She'd never met this Accepted, so was unsure of what to expect once the Oath Rod was resting again on it's pillow. She dressed carefully for it, though. Her high-necked dress shimmered with silver embroidery; slashes of deep purple and an even deeper green peeking out of her skirts as she moved. Echoing slashes flashed in the sleeves that ended on the back of her hand. The shawl she'd chosen matched the deep green slash in her skirts and sleeves, with silver embroidery standing out along the seam and deep green fringe that brushed the ground as she walked. On just about anyone else, it probably wouldn't have come close to the floor, but Loraine's height made the statement much more dramatic. Her flaxen hair was twisted into an elaborate knot on her head and the kesiera dangling on her forehead was a deep purple amethyst. Her lips twitched as she stepped out of her room. She hadn't been so obviously Carhienin in quite a while and it felt a little strange.

 

She met Rasheta and Jaydena in the corridor and together they made their way to the room where the ceremony would take place. She took her place to Jade's right, watching the newly tested Sister make her way to the Amrylin and take her oaths. She pushed aside memories of her own experience with that Oath Rod, though the image of Moraine's hand curled around the other end flashed through her thoughts. She hadn't seen or heard from her in decades and it bothered her more and more as the days wore on. She shook that thought away as the newest Sister turned their direction, making to way to stand before Jaydena. She looked into the eyes of this child and felt, not for the first time, sorry for what was about to come. Would the knowledge have turned the girl another way? Loraine saw the stubborn set of the girl's jaw and knew the answer was no. She'd have been here and Loraine was pretty sure of that. Now all they had to do was survive it...

 

 

~Loraine

Congrats, Kathleen! :D

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Rasheta was preparing for the raising of a new sister, most of the Tower was fairly sure the girl, Kathleen, would choose the Green Ajah. Rasheta herself, wasn't sure, the girl had shown talent all those years ago when she had saved Kathleen from her brothers and then from some whitecloaks. However, Rasheta hadn't been positive that the girl would choose Green and then she hadn't given the girl too much thought after Adrian had died. Now as Rasheta got ready to go, she wondered about it again would Kathleen choose Green?

 

Rasheta picked up her shawl with the longest fringe and threw it around her shoulders. Her dress was green and cut in the Domani style, she had braided her hair into the standard three braids she always had. She added some green beads to the end of the braids for the formal occasion. She came out of her room and told Dante to stay there she had business. He just noddded and she added "If you see Visar tell him i'll be back late." She left the room quickly then and joined Loraine and Jaydena who were making there way to the room where all new sisters swore there oaths.

 

Once in the room she took the position to Jaydena's left and watched the ceremony. Kathleen came into the room swore her oaths and the Amrylin told her to pick her Ajah. After a few steps it became clear that Kathleen was going to pick Green. Rasheta kept her face smooth but she thought. Child, you will be tested again. I hope you can stand it. She said nothing as the other sisters from the rest of the Ajahs filed out of the room. Rasheta simply waited for what was going to happen next.

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She strode down the hallway in the early morning, her heart hard and steeled against what was to come. Of course all Greens had to go through it, she herself had done it, however it didn't make it any easier to be the one imparting the news to these woman. Especially on the one that must sit calmly in her desk and break the spirit of the woman in question. She knew why it had to be done, light she had seen the results and knew that they worked, didn't mean she liked it. Her feet fell steady on the white floor tiles, with their green borders, and swords inlaid on each and every one. Her long legs ate up the ground toward her destination, her green formal slippers flashing from under her dress. Jade wasn't a giant by any means but she was on of the taller Aes Sedai in the Tower. The walls that she walked past were green and white and were hung with paintings and tapestries of battles gone by. Some of them she had painted herself, as painting was something she did to deal with the heartbreak of losing her friends, sisters, and lovers even.

 

Her thoughts strayed to losing Jared and his picture that hung with the other warders she had lost within the Green Vault inside of her display. There were quite a few of her warriors inside of that display and she didn’t want to think about losing another one. Her heart broke silently, although her face stayed calm and serene. The picture of Aes Sedai serenity that she maintained, even when she was crying inside. The loss of so many loved ones could be hard on anyone, add in the lack of companionship, and the constant stress and she was bound to want to sit down and cry once in awhile. In fact she had done just that last night, in the cold and lonely bed she shared with no one. The sounds muffled by one of the giant pillows on her large bed. The next day there was no sign of her crying jag the night before, nor would there be. Greens stood tall in the face on danger and heartache, at least to the outside, and most of the time they even managed to do so in private.

 

As she rounded the corner out of the quarters, the torchlight glinted off her auburn hair; with it's caramel colored highlights, her green eyes sparkled inside her pale face with its sprinkling of freckles across the cheeks and nose. Her body was hourglass shaped and there were times she hated it, more than once in her youth she had felt fat, and had hated the looks she got from men. That might be why she had started sleeping with women, they looked at her too, but not in the same way that men did. They all looked at her like a possession, something they could own, use, and then throw away. She had experienced that very feeling to many times in her life to want to feel it again.

 

Shaking her head she thought, my thoughts shouldn’t be straying in this direction, I should be thinking about the coming trials. Of watching another woman swear her oaths to the Tower and take on all the responsibility that comes with it. Turning her thoughts away from that subject she smoothed a hand over the green satin dress with it’s Aes Sedai symbols worked in real gold thread across the bodice, along the waist, across the sleeves, and ringing the hem. She wore a golden belt which her warder of long ago had given her. It was made up of golden links, in which rubies carved as roses, and emeralds carved as leaves glinted. A matching necklace, earrings, bracelet, anklet, and hair pin graced her pale skin. It was a treasured possession and something she only wore on occasions like this. Around her shoulders she wore the symbol of her station. A white shawl with green fringe that trailed almost to the floor, ivy leaves and vines were embroidered across it, a large Green flame on the back of it, and a pin in the shape of the serpent kept it closed.

 

Her auburn hair was twisted up onto her head in an intricate design, it's wave tightly contained, and the hair pins kept it in place. She smoothed her hand over her skirt in a sign that some would recognize as restlessness in her if they knew her. Not that many knew her these days, she had no warders left, and her best friends and lovers had all either died or left the Tower to never be seen again. The only one who might recognize what that move meant was already inside the room she was about to enter, so she had better get herself under control. The door loomed in front of her, something they all must face in their time in the Tower, taking a deep breath she pulled it open, all her Sitters were already assembled, as was the last raised Sister in the Greens. Nodding at Loraine, Rasheta, and Kabria she took her place with them and waited for the ceremony to begin.

 

The young woman walked in and Jaydena almost smiled, she looked so young and scared. She was trying as they all did to appear ready and tough but she really had no idea what was in store for her. Her life would change so much from the regimented existence she was used to over these many years. Jade glanced over and Loraine and her eyebrow arched, one side of her smile pulled up into a half smile. Looking back at the girl she wondered if she would go Green as it was suspected. The oaths began and just as quickly as they had started they ended and the new Aes Sedai stepped toward them. It was clear that she was choosing the Green. Jaydena nodded at her and spoke, “So you have chosen the Green Ajah, please follow me Sister and we will begin your journey.” She nodded at the other Sitters and then led the way from the room. They reached the Green quarters quickly and they parted ways with Kabria before they reached the office. Jade opened the door to her office and walked over to take a seat behind the large desk with it’s carvings of the Aes Sedai symbol in the dark cherry wood. She looked Kathleen up and down and then spoke, “Kathleen Sedai what are your reasons for choosing the Green Ajah as your future Ajah?” She crossed her hands on the desktop and waited for the new Sister to speak…

 

Jaydena Mckathur

Head of the Greens

Sitter of the Greens

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“So you have chosen the Green Ajah, please follow me Sister and we will begin your journey.” The words repeated in her ears as Kathleen began to follow the auburn haired woman. She had always known that someday she would be called Sister, but it seemed surreal to have finally come. After being called 'child' for so many years it was hard to hear it suddenly change to Sister, but it was most definitely a welcome change. Sister, she thought, finally I am an equal. No longer will I be a child to these people, but as of now, this moment, I am a Sister of the Green Ajah. Kathleen walked the halls with her head held high following along behind the first woman to call her Sister, and she let the sparkle in her eyes show.

 

When they got to the office in the Green halls, the other woman sat behind the rich cherry wood desk and the words she spoke caught Kathleen off guard, "Kathleen Sedai what are your reasons for choosing the Green Ajah as your future Ajah?" My future Ajah? Kathleen thought, I know I can be turned down by an Ajah when I approached them, but I didn't think they really did that. Kathleen took a breath and held herself together. "I chose the Green Ajah to be my Ajah because I believe that it is the best suited place for me to accomplish my goals. I have given my choice more thought than I have given any other decision in my life, and I believe that the Green Ajah is where I belong." Kathleen knew the woman wanted more so she told her of her thought process the night before.

 

She explained how she wanted to solve conflicts in the world and how conflicts came in many forms and had many ways to fix them. She explained that the Greys can solve conflicts of moral and legal right and wrongs, the Blues can solve political conflicts, every other Ajah seemed limited but the Greens were the only Ajah that she could use all of her strengths, and have others who do as well. The Greens were the only Ajah that could stand up for the people of the world who had no one to stand up for them. The Green ajah fought the fights in the world that no other group of people had the ability or will to fight. The other Ajahs could only solve specific conflicts and when the situations got out of hand those Sisters would run out of options and knowledge of ways to deal with things. The Greens were the only Ajah who were truly prepared to handle any conflict from a simple communication to a full on military attack. Kathleen told her how she wanted to be able to not only solve conflicts that have already started, and to stop conflicts from occuring, but also she wanted to be able to stand for the people who cannot stand for themselves. She wanted to protect not only herself, the Tower, and her Sisters, but she wanted to protect the innocent people of the world. In concluding her answer she stated, "The only Ajah that can help me do all this is the Green Ajah, and that is why I choose to join this Ajah."

 

She then stood waiting as calmly as she could for the auburn haired woman seated on the other side of the elegant desk to respond.

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Jade hardened her heart as she watched Kathleen and the look on her face. The woman was clearly confused as to her wording. It was a scenario she had seen so many times that she could all but see it in her mind. Kathleen filled with passion and purpose would state all her reasons for wanting to go Green. Her family was killed by shadowspawn, the world was in their hands, she wanted to protect them all, she wanted to learn Battle Weaves and right the evil of the world. Oh yes, she had heard every reason there was in her many years. She had seen girls cry, she had seen them rage, she had seen them smile and agree to everything they were told. In fact she had even seen a girl with blood leeching out of her body as they healed her to save her life. Jade cringed inside as she remembered that day. It was only by the grace of the Creator that they had saved her that day, neither she or Sirayn had been able to heal to save a life. Luckily one of the other Sitters had been able to.

 

She shook those thoughts from her mind and prayed that Kathleen would take this news with dignity and respect. That she wouldn't throw a hissy fit as so many before her. That she would realize that they had all gone through this say trial and they had all come out of it stronger and more capable of holding up the reasons she was about to state. "I chose the Green Ajah to be my Ajah because I believe that it is the best suited place for me to accomplish my goals. I have given my choice more thought than I have given any other decision in my life, and I believe that the Green Ajah is where I belong." Jaydena listened silently as the young woman states her reasons, and they were many. Her feelings were well thought out and she articulated them very clearly. That didn't stay her hand though, she had to do what she had to do. There was no going back or going around, the woman had made her choice, and that was that.

 

Jaydena listened as Kathleen said her final words and than she replied, “I would say I would and do feel much as you do, however while your reasons are just and sound you are not yet a Sister of the Battle Ajah. From this day forward you will be an Initiate of the Green Ajah, you will have a set of rooms which will not be your final quarters, you will take classes in Battle Weaves and such things as how to be a Battle Sister. When you are deamed worthy you will go before the ajah and they will decide your fate, at that point you will either become a Battle Sister or continue your training until you are ready. To the rest of the Tower you will appear as a full fledged sister of the Green and you are to represent yourself as such. You will tell no one of your status as this is a secret known only to those who are part of the Greens. I personally will see to some of your training and I am sure that it won’t be long before you are standing before the Greens. At this time I will take your on a tour of the Green quarters so that you may meet your future Sisters. Remember that being part of this Ajah is not a right it is a privelage that we all sacrafise for every single day of our lives. Do you have any questions.”

 

Jaydena Mckanthur

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As Kathleen finished explaining her reasoning she held her tongue and composure as she stood and waited to hear Jaydena's reply. She had hoped that she had made her case well enough. She had explained all of her reasoning and explained how much it meant to her to be Green, but was it good enough? She knew she had given the best she could give, but she was still waiting on if it would be enough when Jaydena finally spoke, "I would say I would and do feel much as you do, however while your reasons are just and sound you are not yet a Sister of the Battle Ajah." The words stung and Kathleen's heart felt like someone had just wrapped their fingers around it and squeezed, but before she could break down Kathleen focused on the fact that woman had said ‘yet'. "You are not ‘yet' a Sister of the Battle Ajah." That wasn't a no. That wasn't saying that she wouldn't be, just that she wasn't there yet. Had the woman been thinking of saying no? Had Kathleen's speech made the woman rethink her decision? Kathleen soon learned from the rest of Jaydena's words that this was common practice in this Ajah and that all she could do was accept it.

 

It hurt her to know that she wasn't yet a true part of this Ajah, but nothing could take away that she was an Aes Sedai now. She had gone through the hardest moments of her life in the last few days. Everything she had worked to become was finally being realized, and even though she wasn't going to be in her final place in her journey she had finally become what she had spent her life working to be. She was an Aes Sedai. Someday she would be accepted into this Ajah, they would see her as an equal. She had spent the last few decades being considered a child to these people, clearly divided and under them. She could more than handle another short time proving to these women that she was no longer that child. She would not let her self think of it as being less than them or under them, mearly that she needed to prove to these people that she was capable of what was expected of a Green Sister. That she could hold her own and do the job that was now required of her as a Green. No matter if she was a Green or not she was on the same level as all Aes Sedai. Still she needed to prove that she wanted to be there, that she was capable of doing what was needed of her, and that she could follow the chain of command. She had known for a long time that being Aes Sedai did not mean you were on the top, there are always people above you, unless you happen to be the wheel itself, weaving the pattern.

 

When Jaydena asked Kathleen if she had any questions the newly raised Aes Sedai stood firm and matched eyes with the woman as she replied, "I understand my place, Sister. I have no questions. I have waited long for this day, I can wait a little longer to prove to you that I belong." She wasn't sure if she should have called her Sister, but Kathleen wasn't going to take away her new privileges unless she was told she had too. After all the woman had called her Sister, so why would Kathleen not be allowed to call her the same?

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Loraine leaned against the wall of Jade's study with her arms crossed over her chest, watching the newest Green calmly explaining her reasonings. She felt her eyebrow arching as she watched the confusion dance around the girl's face only to be forced into compliant smoothness. She felt an itch between her shoulder blades and rolled them backwards. Calm acceptance? Truly? She felt the girl holding something back and it piqued her curiosity. Was she swallowing it to keep from making a fool of herself or was she truly this mild mannered? Loraine prayed it was the former and not the latter, as the last thing the Tower needed was a mild-mannered Green. She felt her lips twitch as her eyes strayed to Jade and Rasheta. As if such a thing had ever existed in these halls.

 

"What if a little longer is measured in years, decades, even? Can you wait that long?" She didn't move from the wall or put any inflection on her voice when she asked. "What you've got to learn could take quite a bit longer than mere months. Can you keep that calm acceptance in check when those who you sat through classes with are leaving the Tower on various chores and missions?" That had been the crippling part when she'd been newly raised. Her memory held stark reflections of the celebration she'd attended the week after taking her oaths; watching Moraine dance and twisting her words so tightly not to lie or spill the secret when Kynwric asked her how it felt to finally be Aes Sedai. How her chest had ached after that debacle! "You cannot wear a shawl, as you have not been accepted by an Ajah. You, most likely, won't stray far from these Halls, for the temptation to cry on someone's shoulder will be overwhelming. Tell me, Kathleen, how long can you curl your fists around that acceptance when you're pushed to the point of tears every single day you draw a breath?"

 

She'd probably hate Loraine for pointing it out, perhaps even feel like she was trying to goad her into a reaction. The truth would come soon enough, however. Tears flowed quite often in the initiates dorms...

 

~Loraine

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When the room grew silent the Aes Sedai who had been patiently waiting leaning on a wall began to question her, "What if a little longer is measured in years, decades, even? Can you wait that long? What you've got to learn could take quite a bit longer than mere months. Can you keep that calm acceptance in check when those who you sat through classes with are leaving the Tower on various chores and missions? You cannot wear a shawl, as you have not been accepted by an Ajah. You, most likely, won't stray far from these Halls, for the temptation to cry on someone's shoulder will be overwhelming. Tell me, Kathleen, how long can you curl your fists around that acceptance when you're pushed to the point of tears every single day you draw a breath?"

 

As the woman threw question after question, all tugging at her heart, it was all Kathleen had left in her to stop from breaking down. Why was this woman saying these things now? She had just heard the news, hardly had time to process any of it. Surely the woman must know the state Kathleen was in. Hadn't she gone through it before? Hadn't the woman stood in the very same room and heard that she too had not yet done enough, even after going through the test of 100 weaves? Couldn't the woman remember how lost and devastated she must have been when she was told that all she had worked for, all she had desired to be, was still out of reach when she had been told for decades that when you come out of that testing of 100 ridiculous weaves you will be welcomed home as a Sister of the Ajah you chose? Surely the woman wasn't so old she had forgotten. Kathleen didn't think that any amount of years could take a way the sting of this moment. No, this woman must have known, must still remember. Could this Aes Sedai really be trying to hurt the girl. She was twisting the knife, but Kathleen was not about to let her see just how much pain it was causing her. No, she would not give her that satisfaction.

 

"I cannot know how long it will take for you all to determine me worthy. I only know that this is truly the only place I would like to be, and I am willing to wait as long as it takes to gain that shawl." Just because she was willing to wait didn't mean she wanted to or was even the slightest bit pleased at her condition, but one didn't have to be joyous to be willing. "It will be difficult to watch the others proceed before me, but I have no control over the movements of others, and my progress is in no way relate-able to theirs. Everyone has different circumstances to live with, and I do not judge myself on the actions of others. I do what I must do, and we all have different paths to follow. I do what must be done. I know it will not always be easy or pleasant, but it is the only way. Life is full of things you don't want to do that need to get done. This is one of those things. There is no point in complaining about it. I am faced with two options, do as is requested of me, or do not. I will not choose to walk away. I have worked too hard and too long to walk away from this now. I would not have chosen to do things this way, but it is not my place to choose, it is my place to accept or deny, and I will not give up on something I desire simply because it has suddenly become harder to obtain."

 

She hoped the answer sufficed, and was now glad she had been asked as her answers helped her to process what was truly going on and helped her to be able to deal with it. She knew at the end of the day when she was alone in her room the tears would fall, but she knew she needed to be strong. Aes Sedai did not cry in the face of a challenge and whether she was accepted into the ajah or not she was Aes Sedai now and she would do all she could to uphold all that meant when others were around. She wanted to drop into tears, but she needed to prove to these woman that she could be as strong as any Green and look this challenge in the eye and fight through her heart break. At least until she was alone in her room at night.

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Loraine felt her lips twitch at the answer, but didn't let it get any further than that. "Aye, it's always finding your place that hurts the most, I think." She turned and lifted her eyebrow at Jade and Rasheta. "I'm sure Kynwric is about to beat down the door... or some poor new kid in the Yard. If there is nothing that requires me...?"

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She watched, her green eyes clear and calm as Kathleen accepted what was being said, she saw the confusion, the pain, and acceptance on the woman's face. This one wasn't going to freak out it appeared, but she had never seen a future Green take things this calmly. "I understand my place, Sister. I have no questions. I have waited long for this day, I can wait a little longer to prove to you that I belong." Jaydena arched an eyebrow at the use of the word Sister, she wasn't just this woman's sister but they would get to that in a moment. She regarded the woman, waiting to see if she had anymore to say. Before she could speak Loraine pushed away from the wall and began to speak, "What if a little longer is measured in years, decades, even? Can you wait that long? What you've got to learn could take quite a bit longer than mere months. Can you keep that calm acceptance in check when those who you sat through classes with are leaving the Tower on various chores and missions? You cannot wear a shawl, as you have not been accepted by an Ajah. You, most likely, won't stray far from these Halls, for the temptation to cry on someone's shoulder will be overwhelming. Tell me, Kathleen, how long can you curl your fists around that acceptance when you're pushed to the point of tears every single day you draw a breath?" Jaydena gazed at Loraine and nodded her head, they had all been through it, it was a trial to be endured and Loraine has summed the feelings up nicely.

 

She looked over at Kathleen, the woman looked almost as though she would cry. Jade could relate, she spent half of her day wishing she could cry and acting as though she was a wall that couldn't be beaten down. It was actually fairly wearing on her mind, soul, and body. It was however something they all learned to do early on in the Tower. Weaklings didn't make it to the Shawl, and that was what they were all here for after all. Jade waiting silently as Kathleen began to speak, the woman had the right of it. She didn't lack in courage, for after all, she had always believed that it took more courage to face it without whining and crying than to throw a temper tantrum like a 2 year old. Loraine began to speak and Jaydena smiled softly at the other woman's words, she had to agree with her. As Loraine spoke Jaydena turned to look at Katheleen, "Well my dear we shall see how your mettle is tested in the days to come. We are all looking forward to seeing what kind of Sister you shall be. Loraine you may go find your Warder before he has himself a heart attack. Kathleen you shall be escorted on your tour with Rasheta Sedai here. I look forward to seeing you at my rooms when you make it there. That is all. " Jade gained her feet and stood looking at Kathleen as the woman walked out the door with Rasheta.

 

As the women walked from the room she sat down at her desk and put her head in her hands, this part of being Ajah Head was one of the hardest for her. They all knew why it was done, they all understood, but they weren't the ones facing these women's faces as she tore their dreams to bits. Jade took a deep breath and felt a hand on shoulder, she looked up and saw her warder at her side. With a smile she took the hand offered to her and stood up. Her warder handed her a chocolate bar, just what she needed and they strolled arm in arm to her rooms, where she would meet with Kathleen and Rasheta...

 

Jaydena Mckanthur

Edited by Jaydena

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