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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Library Time


Phelix
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OOC: I wanted to write something that wasn't a Requirement. :wink: If your character is around and wants to distract Elin, please feel free. :wink:

 

A comfortable chair was essential to spending long periods of time reading, Elin found. Today, she was nestled in a Library near the Brown Ajah's quarters. She didn't really understand Browns, or how they managed to produce so much information, but she was able to accept that whether she understood it or no, it was true.

 

Today, she was searching for the writings of Dreamers. Just before being taken to be tested for Acceptance, she had been reading a Dreamer's journal that suggested she had met men and women long dead in the World of Dreams. This Library was dedicated to maintaining journals, private and public, of dead Aes Sedai... which made it the perfect place for Elin to find what she was looking for. She had already found stacks of journals from one Dreamer, who if she truly was a Dreamer barely deserved the title, in Elin's opinion. The woman filled book after book with natterings about what this or that symbol in her dream meant.

 

Sometimes a rabbit was just a rabbit.

 

Sighing to herself, Elin set aside that pile of journals for later review... perhaps when she had a cup of hot tea... make it a full kettle... to keep her awake.

 

The next stack was much smaller, and belonged to a Brown. She had left her journals in a code that had only partially been broken. Ostensibly, the journal was her ramblings on the history of Far Madding, Tear, and Mayene, but later scholars had deciphered that country names were areas the Brown had studied over her lifetime. The preface of the journal implied there were more than the three tomes, which told Elin that someone had edited the Brown's lifework, perhaps removing certain books from the eyes of those who had not yet earned the shawl.

 

For this Brown, though, Tear referred to ter'angreal research. When she wrote about Tairen objects, it implied they were ter'angreal. Toward the end of her journal on Tear, she said that she accidentally fell asleep with a Tairen Bird's nest nearby, and somehow managed to wake up interested in Mayene. Some sisters thought the Brown used Mayene to refer to Tel'aran'Rhiod, while others thought she meant it to signify Travel to alternate lines of the Pattern via portal stones. Either way, Elin was giving herself a headache trying to parse it out.

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"Again, someone steals my favorite chair," came a grumbling voice behind her right before a featherduster sneaked over the top of the chair to bop Elin lightly on the head. "Why, I should -"

 

A few seconds later Bennu Abravanel, clad in her newly striped dress, poked her head around the highbacked chair to peer at the girl and blinked in surprise. "Oh! Elin! I didn't expect to find you in here," she said, her voice warming as she greeted her fellow Accepted. "Sorry about that. That's the most popular chair in here, it's so comfy. Outright wars have started over who gets the chance to sit in it." As if to emphasize her words, she waved the featherduster about like a child playing at Warders, before tucking it in her belt. "Should have staked my claim on it well before heading off into the stacks, but well, as you do."

 

The darkskinned girl dropped into another chair catty-corner to Elin’s, and leaned forward with interest. "Here for personal study? You must be, the class texts are another floor down…" Her glance went to the small stacks arrayed around the other girl, and one eyebrow went up. Pause. Her smile faded to a look of outright puzzlement as she tilted her head, taking a long moment to peruse the different titles.

 

"What's this?" the Tairen queried. Her finger brushed over the title of the closest book. " Ways of the Silver Path? Opening The Gates of Sleep?" She reached out, snagged one of the tomes and lifted it, turning it to and fro in her hand. Symbolism in The Dreams of Evara Idrian Aes Sedai??" The look deepened to a frown, and she put the book down slowly before eyeing her classmate curiously.

 

"What are you chasing down, Elin?" Bennu asked very carefully, lowering her voice so it didn’t carry too far. "Maybe I can help."

Edited by Chikara
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After Chikara read the titles Elin had been reading, Elin had to blush. They did seem rather silly when read aloud.

 

"You have to promise not to laugh Bennu." Elin waited until the Tairen girl nodded before continuing. "The day I was raised, I was reading a journal from one of the Tower's Dreamers, I can't recall her name anymore... the events that followed it definitely take precedence... but I know that the Aes Sedai said in her journal that she had met people she knew to be dead in the World of Dreams."

 

Elin paused, blushing even deeper. "I thought that since she saw dead people, I might be able to see Nile there in the Dream."

 

At the skeptical look on Bennu's face, Elin opened her mouth and words poured out in a rush. "Everything I've read says you must be strong in Spirit to enter the Dream, and I know that I'm stronger in Spirit than average. I was hoping to read everything I could to learn what happens in the Dream... how someone can enter the Dream world... it's called tel'aran'rhiod. Roughly, the world between worlds, the world outside ours, the world of dreams."

 

Elin hoped that her friend wouldn't think her flighty and foolish for the rest of their lives... If they became Aes Sedai, those lives could be very long.

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Bennu listened quietly as Elin explained her motive, settling back in the chair and steepling her fingers. To her credit, the normally expressive Tairen didn't turn a hair (besides her left eyebrow arching skyward again) as the Accepted broached the subject of finding her dead brother in the dreamworld.

 

For one, she had developed some tact as she'd gotten older. The life of the novices and Accepted in the Tower was stressful enough that one really wanted to avoid finding other emotional levers to trip on classmates, and thus discovering yourself in the Mistress of Novices' chamber faster than you could blink for causing a scene. In Elin's case, that'd be her brother Nile. Bennu'd heard parts of the story in the past - just enough to tacitly volunteer to help if the Amadician ever planned on dropping the Children and their lot in the deepest part of the ocean. As much as she'd wanted to punt her own brothers out of the highest window in Tear once or twice for their idiocy, losing them like that would...

 

Light. Bennu mentally shook her head. Best not to dwell on that.

 

No, she'd never fault her friend for this, but she would certainly be concerned for her, as it seemed a bit unhealthy from Bennu's perspective. Who knew if Nile was even there, or if it would be something that just looked like Nile but wasn't? The Tairen chose to say nothing on this regard - but if Elin ever managed to go there, Bennu would be right behind her. That was what friends did.

 

Secondly, it was nice to see her fellow Accepted finding something she was interested in and working on her focus. Bennu envied her, to be honest; the unspoken reason she was haunting this library near the Ajah she aspired to was because she was searching for the same exact thing. Time had proven she wasn't going to be one of the strongest Aes Sedai in the tower (if that day ever comes, she thought to herself), and exposure to Elin had actually made her think about perhaps not spending all her time poring through books. Maybe getting out in the world and actually studying it rather than what was already written down about it could be her path. Or maybe a combination of both.

 

She glanced down, going over the array of books again, then took a breath. "Right, then," she said, peering over the tips of her fingers at her classmate. "I've heard of Tel'aran'rhiod, but that's about it." Truly told, the strangeness of the real world was quite enough for the bookish Accepted; this certainly wasn't an area she was personally interested in exploring. "And you're not kidding when you say you're strong in Spirit, I've seen you weave those flows. But how would you get there? I've never heard of any ways to get in...wait."

 

The Tairen trailed off, eyes narrowed in thought as she shifted her gaze to the far wall. Though she hadn't studied the World of Dreams in any depth herself, it had been mentioned in a few journals she herself had read. Bennu'd simply looked up the word, learned what it meant, and had continued reading. She'd been researching something else entirely different, so the reference hadn't held her attention for very long. But one of them... She bit her lip in frustration as the memory eluded her.

 

"I'm forgetting something, Elin," she muttered absently after a moment of silence, tapping her index fingers in an idle rhythm. "Something that might be something you might want to look at, or I don't know a bar knot from a running hitch. But, to my shame, I didn't even read that closely when I did see it." Her gaze went back to the Amadician, eyes dark. "You just reminded me of it. Light, what was it?"

 

Why was she thinking of a ring? She looked down at her own hand where the serpent ring rested in pride of place. "Something about a ring. Maybe it was an Accepted's notes I was reading or her journal...why can't I remember?"

Edited by Chikara
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"How to get in is exactly the problem, Bennu. That's why I'm here reading, trying to find out how the Dreamers of the Past made it into the World between Worlds." Elin sat there flipping through the different journals and books. "This sister says that she simply started being aware of herself while she dreamed, while this one says she met a wolf who taught her how to Dream. This one is the most obscure... she says she went to sleep with a ter'angreal next to her, or at least that is what later commentators thought she must mean, but she doesn't say what the ter'angreal looked like or why it helped her."

 

Elin set the books aside with a thump, groaning. She was sure that if she could just follow the steps one of these Aes Sedai of old left behind she would be able to get into tel'aran'rhiod... whether or not she found Nile there was up to the Pattern and the Wheel.

 

"I've not read about any rings yet... this could be a new lead. Think Bennu! Was it something studied by Corianin Nedeal? She shows up as a reference in many of the treatise on ter'angreal without known purposes... she was apparently a Brown who spent most of her life searching for lost uses of ter'angreal."

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Light, Elin was practically jittering. “I'm not going to give you a full net on the first cast, Elin,” she said irritatedly. “Give me a moment.” Bennu's eyes narrowed further as she thought. She prided herself on her memory. One of her gifts was being able to remember something of things she'd read before, even little obscure items. The Accepted hoped that it'd put her on a fast track to Brown, so not be able to recall this annoyed her.

 

Rings. She started playing with her own, twisting it around her finger. Perhaps it had been Corianin Nedeal she'd been reading a reference to. That name did sound familiar. All right, back further. What had she been doing when she read about Corianin Aes Sedai?

 

“Let me go get my notes,” she murmured, rising from her seat. “I'll be right back.” And vanished into the stacks.

 

Thankfully, the library wasn't too crowded, and the Tower was full of girls who knew better anyway than to touch items that weren't theirs without permission. So her notebook and pen were in the same place they were, on a desk along the west wall.

 

About twenty minutes later, she had her answer as she ambled back towards her friend. She'd had to flip through several days worth of notes to successfully jog her memory, but she found it and hastened back to Elin. Carrying her notes, of course; who knew, they might be needed again.

 

“It wasn't a ring at all, Elin,” she said excitedly. “I was remembering wrong. It was an earring. I remember now – I thought when they wrote “earring” that it was a typo, but now I don't think it was.” Bennu slid back into her seat and began thumbing through her notes. “I was reading an Novice's diary from Corianin's time period a day or so ago; I've noticed they're chock-full of details about life in the Tower that adults tend not to include, because they're not new to them. Anyway, this novice mentioned that she greeted Corianin Sedai in a hallway shortly before Bel Tine, and said 'She was wearing her favorite earring, as usual.'

 

“I thought that it was strange,” the young woman said, warming to her subject, “because when you talk about earrings, you say 'pair of' or 'set of', or just use the plural. She didn't use any of those turns of phrase here. And as I don't recall any fads for that sort of fashion, I think she was specifically stating that Corianin Sedai always seemed to just wear one.” Bennu tapped the piece of paper and slid it towards her classmate. “I've no proof, but I bet that might be a ter'angreal to look into.”

Edited by Chikara
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"Full cast or no, Bennu, that is no grunter to throw back!" Despite having grown up in a landlocked nation, Elin had been forced to learn some of the Tairen sealife, due to her proximity to Bennu.

 

Elin read over the page, over and over again. True, the page was just Bennu's notes and not the original journal, but Bennu took some of the best notes Elin had ever seen. Her favorite earring....

 

"I'm stumped, Bennu. How do we find out what an Aes Sedai from centuries ago wore? If it is a ter'angreal it could be locked away in a vault somewhere, only for use by full sisters. Or they could have left it with Corianin when they buried her... or, Light help us, cremated her! I could ask Rochel Sedai... but she's fairly young and likely won't know much about ter'angreal that old. Do you know any of the senior Browns well enough to ask?"

 

Standing, Elin began to pace in front of the window. Her first lead in what promised to be a very long pursuit was not as helpful as it could be. Once she was raised to Aes Sedai, then she would be able to requisition any ter'angreal she wanted... but the Light alone knew when that would be. Once she found her way into the World of Dreams, it seemed like there were as many rules to learn there as there were for being Aes Sedai. Could she find a Mentor? Some of the journals spoke of learning from wolves. If she couldn't find one on her own, perhaps she would be able to muddle through on her own?

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Bennu snorted. "Do you honestly think they'd bury a perfectly good ter'angreal? There were probably sisters who recognized it for what it was, if that's what it really is." She shook her head. "No, there's a good chance it's still here, Elin. By Tower law, it'd belong to the Tower, not to a specific sister. Now, it may be that it's in storage, as you say. Or, it could have been requisitioned already."

 

Elin started pacing in her agitation. The Brown aspirant put up her hands soothingly. "That doesn't mean I won't try. I don't know what I can coax out of a full Aes Sedai, but I can do my best, for a specific reason."

 

She smiled conspiratorially. "Let me explain. While Dreaming isn't something I'm interested in personally - I'll leave that to you, thanks, my dreams are strange enough - Corianin Sedai's work with those items of Power are. I was planning on sort of following in her footsteps by studying ter'angreal ,so I was going to speak to the Mistress of Novices to see if I could get an audience with the Ajah. If I can get permission, I could hunt around, see what I can find in the vaults."

 

Bennu began to feel the first twinges of a headache coming on at the thought of digging through hundreds- perhaps thousands - of ter'angreal in search of one that probably wasn't much bigger than her thumb. That was just not going to be fun. But maybe there was another one, easier to find, that did the same thing? The earring couldn't have been the only one, if that's what it was.

 

"Now, I'll probably be escorted by a full sister, so I can't guarantee anything..."

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"Well, you know how funny some sisters can get about their personal affects. Corianin might have left very specific instructions about that earring... but you're right, let's assume they didn't let it go to waste."

 

Elin listened as Bennu laid out her ambition, which was strikingly different than her own. In the abstract, she could understand how a life spent digging through old relics could be a service to the world, but in her heart Elin knew she couldn't dedicate her life to that kind of work. She was bound to be one of those sisters who rarely spent time in the Tower until she was forced to stay there by age or rank. A rather prideful part of Elin assumed that once she became old enough, she would be asked to take on some leadership role within the Tower or maybe whichever Ajah she joined. To her way of thinking, she would make an excellent Sitter... after several decades of working in the real world.

 

"I don't know how you do it, Bennu... gather that excitement about digging through ter'angreal. I also know that I don't have much to offer in return... I could keep a log of my experiments with any dream ter'angreal you find? Or perhaps I could be your willing test subject if you find a ter'angreal that needs someone to trigger it? Is there something else you'd like?"

 

Yes, the two Accepted were friends, but Elin didn't want their relationship to become imbalanced with Bennu working harder to give into the relationship than she did, or light forbid that it should flip to the reverse. Friends were not always easy to come by in the Tower, and losing the perpetually distracted Tairen as a friend would be a tragedy.

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Bennu blinked. “How I do it?” She smiled. Not for the first time, Elin reminded her of some of her library home's patrons. The ones that always seemed to wonder how the Abravanels could spend their lives doing what they did. Her father told her once that no one who hadn't been bitten by the bug of wanting to know would ever truly understand that drive.

 

“It's a mystery, Elin. Truly it is. It's getting the chance to solve a mystery. A mystery some thousands of years old. There's so much here that I can't imagine not trying to make sense out of it. It'll probably take me out of the Tower sometime, but...” The Accepted shrugged. “First solve the mysteries here. Then I'll head out into the world.” She knew that very little would hold Elin there after they gained the shawl; her goals sent her out, while most of Bennu's goals were right there beneath their feet. No, the Tairen would probably not venture out to study the real world for a while, but she did leave, oh, she'd be ready.

 

At her friend's offer, she held up her hands to belay her. “No. Nonono. Maybe a running log of your experiments once we find the item for you, but your being a test subject? Light, no! Do you want half the tower feeding us to the silverpike before the day's out? They'll ship 'em tsraight from Tear if we give them half a chance.” The youg woman gazed in the direction of the sea that she had not seen for nearly a decade, and shook her head. Nah. I'll make a bargain with you. Should you see any ter'angreal on your journeys in the future, or anything that looks like a likely one, let me know or bring it to me so I can study it or put it in the hands of someone who can study it. Deal?”

Edited by Chikara
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It was difficult to keep the bemusement off her face. A mystery? That was how Bennu saw research? Ter'angreal? To Elin's way of thinking, they were tools, plain and simple. Some were left behind by the extremely advanced society in the Age of Legends, while others were made during the Time of Madness, but they were all made with a purpose to assist people in doing a task. The only mystery was how they were made, but that knowledge had been lost for since before the Trolloc Wars. Someone might rediscover the process, but then again someone might rediscover Traveling! For Elin, an Aes Sedai's service had to begin with the needs of today.

 

The Amadician Accepted was glad, though, that Bennu saw things differently. If the whole world thought and acted the same way it would be a much less interesting place. Elin surely thought her methods and thoughts were correct, but then again, so did the Lord Captain Commander of the Children. It made Elin shudder thinking about if more of the world agreed with his way of thinking.

 

"I wouldn't put it past Valeri to have your silverpike shipped up the river, but I didn't necessarily mean test them on me like I were an object. I meant if you have something that you need help testing, perhaps with an extra boost in Spirit, or if you need someone to link with, think of me. I will definitely keep a journal, and hopefully mine will be more clear than these! If some girl in the future needs to learn about the Dream by reading my notes, I do hope she'll find them of more use than whatever I've found."

 

Elin smiled, tilting her head to the side. "I'll agree to your deal, but I make another promise on top of that. At some point, I will get you out of the Tower. It might not be in the first decades after we're raised to the Shawl, but Bennu Abravanel, I will get you out of the Tower."

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“Oh. Good.” The Tairen gave a short laugh. “I was about to ask if all that weave practice I’ve been seeing you do addled your brains. And mine too, given that I believed that was what you had said!” Reaching down, she carefully began to gather her papers, putting them back in order. Except for that page with the notes on Corianin Sedai; that one stayed on top to remind her. “All right. I’ll look into this, see what I can find. I planned on spending tonight working on that letter for Valeri Sedai; tomorrow I’ll start poking around the shelves here some more and maybe come up with some more information. It’ll take time, though – but we’re Accepted. We’ve got time. “

 

She would have said more, but the soft peal of bells in the distance grabbed her attention. “Light, what time is it? I totally lost track. So much to do…and Zorana Sedai giving an oral exam tomorrow on Old Tongue conjugation. And I’ve kept you from your reading! I have got to get back to my room.”

 

“But remember, truly told, I’ll hold you to that bargain,” the Tairen went on with a smirk as she rose from her seat, featherduster bumping her hip. “As much as I love the library, I’ll probably want to see the open road some time in my life. You’ll probably have to remind me where the front door is, though, when we go.”

 

Bennu had seen that amused look on her friend’s face; she’d expected that. Like her father had said, most people wouldn’t understand. And that was okay. Elin would keep her grounded, keep her from completely forgetting the present as she delved into the past. That would be good all around.

 

“See you soon, Elin ?” the young woman asked as she headed for the door, notes and pen in hand.

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