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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Saidin 101


Arath Faringal
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For the hundredth time, Arath wondered how he had ended up where he now was. This had all been Covai's idea, burn him! And yet, somehow, Arath had ended up in charge of relations with the Aes Sedai. He had no idea how it had happened, but he was now the one whom everyone came to, Asha'man and Aes Sedai both. It could be beyond frustrating at times, but at others it felt ... right. Like this was how things were supposed to be. After a fashion anyway.

 

He suspected that today would be more on the frustrating side. The number of bondings had been somewhat less than hoped for, since few Aes Sedai felt like being on the 'wrong side' of the bond, yet a great number of them still wanted to learn how to link and use Saidin. Want ... it was usually more of a demand. Sometimes there were threats, thinly veiled if at all, suggesting that it would definitely be in his best interests to spill everything he knew.

 

Light but women were frustrating! And Aes Sedai even worse.

 

And so Arath found himself on the Tower grounds, waiting like a good little soldier for the Aes Sedai to show up for this lesson. He wasn't sure how many would be here; they all seemed to want private lessons, not a group class. Several of them would not like that. But he doubted they would like much how the teaching went anyway. Arath hadn't recieved any of the vaunted Aes Sedai education, and he had been told that he was a little bit too ... direct. Whatever that meant.

 

After a while, a few sisters began to show up, looking as though they had all the time in the world. And then looking put out when it became clear that they would be waiting on his schedule. Arath rubbed his arms through his lightning embroidered black sleeves as one or more of the Aes Sedai channeled, probably warding conversations from his hearing. He shivered, and ignored the instinct to reach out to Saidin to defend himself. He wondered if he would ever get used to it.

 

Once enough of his students had arrived, Arath began. Any stragglers would simply have to catch up, or come some other time. "I am Storm Leader Arath Faringal. I am the primary representative of the Black Tower, and I'm here to teach you the basics of Saidin. Light willing, this will all go smoothly."

 

OOC: Alright, I'll give a couple days for everyone who wants to join in to post their arrival and initial impressions of the new teacher. For those of you who don't know him, Arath is about 19-20 years old, Andoran, Brown Hair, Green Eyes, likes long walks on the beach ... :smile: He's not exactly tactful, so he'll probably be ruffling more than a few feathers during this class. Try to be nice :smile:

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Although Lillian had taken many classes throughout her seventy-eight years, nothing felt familiar to her going into this class. Faces were tense, despite their seemingly unperturbed agelessness. Moreover, a male channeller had become their teacher. It was going to be a class unlike any others. And ever since she found out about its existence through the First Reasoner, Lillian Tremina was all for it.

 

Over the centuries, tower classes changed very little. For her students, Lillian had archived volumes of personal notes she had taken half a century ago, neatly bound and tucked away in an abandoned wing. Even so, each Ajah always claimed to be different from the others, to have a more hands on approach to the world and competing enticements to try and lure people to their Ajah. Like the others, the White Ajah offered participation in this class, taking them out into Tar Valon itself. The only Ajah not to take them outside of the classroom was the Red Ajah, but given their task it wasn't much of a surprise to Lillian. She had yet to meet a novice or accepted who actually 'wanted' to encounter a male channeller. Even the Aes Sedai who did the task seemed for the most part . . . unenthusiastic, and rightly so. It was a necessary task, as opposed to a work one could fall in love with.

 

Lillian's personal history with male channellers produced a strangely ambivalent feeling toward her Asha'man teacher. Lillian and her fellow tower initiate Elyna's abduction by a dreadlord named Talin Losey had culminated in their rescue and subsequent release by a rival dreadlord whom they never learnt the name of, only noted for his distinctive black robe with golden symbols worked in. After Lillian's return, she had seriously begun to question the tower's traditions. Her thesis on the tower as an accepted grew from a way to determine her Ajah to a critique upon the tower from its practices and culture and things that needed to change. Even though Lillian chose the White Ajah, she declared her friendship to all sisters in her raising ceremony. Despite being one of the weakest sisters of the tower, she wanted to show that all sisters in the tower should be sisters regardless of Ajah and to do her best not only for the tower, but for the people of the Westlands even as the final battle approached.

 

Meanwhile the current day saw Lillian eager to put her research thesis into practice, even though this class came as a surprise.

 

Lillian Tremina

Aes Sedai of the White Tower

 

Ooc: Lillian is young (for a sister), 5'6'', copper skinned, She has a soft face adorned with deep emerald eyes and a petite nose while her jet black hair is worn in a variety of styles. Her hands are callused from swordwork and her fingertips from stringed instruments she plays.

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Kathleen's light blue eyes flickered back at her through the mirror as she brushed out her long brown hair. She quickly put a braid in it, and then wrapped the braid into a bun on the back of her head. She was doing more fiddling with it than she normally would but she was nervous. She was normally very adept at hiding her nerves, but she was alone in her room and today's nerves were not the ordinary sort. She had known since shortly after she arrived at the White Tower that there were men out there who could channel. She had never agreed with the Red's thinking to kill them all, but she had never been comfortable with the idea of madmen running the streets abusing the gift. There was a time she had dreamed of finding these men and studying them trying to find a way to let them live as long as they could before they go mad. She had always hoped to find a way to get rid of the taint, but she had never expected it to happen after all the years that no one had found a way. She was torn. On one hand these men were a danger; to themselves and to the world. On the other they were just the same as herself, they hadn't asked for the gift, and they certainly didn't ask for the taint and the madness that came with it.

 

That was all behind her now, no reason to dream it any longer. The dream had come true and times had changed. It was all so new, and today she would get to study Saidan. Still she wondered how much they knew of it themselves. Being so new to the world how much did the teachers themselves know about the One Power? She couldn't help but think of them all as children playing at politics. She was uneasy with the idea of being near a man who could channel, if only for the simple fact that it was new to her, and the lingering remembrance of all the dangers she had been warned of for years. The taint was gone, but the fear was harder to suppress. She was most uneasy knowing that not only could he channel, but he would be channeling. But they were at the White Tower, and if he were try anything he shouldn't she was confident he wouldn't get away with it for long. Still the butterflies fluttered in her stomach as she wrapped her shawl around her shoulders, gained her composure and strolled to meet the other woman who would be learning with her.

 

As she entered the space where they would be meeting she set her eyes on the brown haired youth. A boy? We requested to be taught, and they send us a boy? Even with the proper training we have here, a girl this young wouldn't be skilled enough to light a candle without supervision, or even know how to make a shield if her life depended on it! What could we possibly learn from this child, let alone how much could he know at this point to teach us? We make efforts to accommodate and these men, we give them the opportunity to play at our teacher, and they mock us by sending a child not even aged enough to enter the Arches! Kathleen drew her eyes away from Arath and settled in beside a small group of Aes Sedai who had already arrived.

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"Portia! Portia!" Saline grinned at the other Taraboner's back. "Wait up."

 

Her grin widened when, rather than acknowledging her presence, Portia walked faster, her crimson shawl swaying as she drew distance between them.

 

"So mean!" Saline caught up, and pursued mercilessly as Portia Larisen ducked into a room.

 

Without preamble, Saline said "Sweet lands, you sure can walk! So yes, picking up from where we left off on our previous discussion I have a passing familiarity with earth techniques, I can help identify some differences between those of men and women." Saline was quite talented in that category and both knew it. Then, smilingly "you and I both know what happened with the Asha'man from the garden and our Red Sisters. So we can either accept this and move on or be caught with our shifts down. Besides, I know people of every description and privilege and their lack therefore. It will take more than a boy to scare me. Even if the boy has power, I have a secret weapon. Now if you will excuse me, I have said all I wanted to say. Looking forward to see you in class, Portia."

 

But when the class came, Portia was a no-show. It was still early though. Thought Saline as she adjusted her shoulder and what was strapped to her back, her secret weapon: her scimitar. What? She totally did it for giggles. There should be at least thirteen women to one boy, as class ratios go. Flashing one of her sunshine smiles at their teacher, Saline once again scanned the other students for Portia.

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Esther strode up to the group she saw assembled, with her usual graceless style. Her hair fizzed around her head as she tried to drape her gray-fringed shawl around her shoulders in a semblance of the Aes Sedai style she could also not quite achieve. Her normally placid face was marred by a slight frown today, due to the rather forceful way the Head Clerk had all but bundled her out the door and shoved her into this class.

 

Light, all she'd said was that rules were rules, and they should all stop whining about men who could channel being allowed to run loose! Once the law had been that such men had to be captured and gentled, and now the law said they were not. That was the end of the story, as far as she was concerned. Men who could channel were the responsibility of the Red Ajah, anyway, and there really was no need for the Grays to get involved with them. She looked around, and spotted at least one Red sister amongst the gaggle of Aes Sedai standing around and either pointedly ignoring the man in the black coat, or staring at him.

 

She eyed him up and down with cocked head, then gave him a firm but not unfriendly nod when he made eye contact. Perhaps she should have curtsied? He was supposed to be the instructor for this class, and she was newly enough raised to still have that instinct in her. Not wanting to be rude, she bobbed him a slight curtsy just in case, then folded her hands and put on an attentive expression once he started speaking. Even though she did not understand why the Head Clerk wanted a Gray to attend this class, Esther would never say no to learning anything new, so she was quite looking forward to this.

 

 

Esther Tremaine

New Gray Sister

 

OOC: Esther is 30, just raised (no Ageless look yet), frizzy reddish hair, plump with high cheekbones and light brown eyes, 5'7". Low, sultry voice and pouty mouth. Loves rules and laws! OP score 33(34).

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Arath observed each of his students carefully as he began to pace in front of the assembled group. He was more wary of this group than he ever had been of any Asha'man class, madness not withstanding. Odd, he thought, that he was more likely to be the victim of a crazed attack when surrounded by the untainted channelers than among his own taint wielding men.

 

"The objective of this lesson is to expose you to Saidin, and to teach you a thing or two about linking." As was expected, he heard more than a few pointed sniffs at that remark. He ignored them. "Saidar just about destroyed me the first time I linked with my bondmate, and the same nearly happened to her with Saidin. They are complete opposites, and no amount of age or experience will prepare you for it."

 

"The first thing you need to know about Saidin, is that it must be fought. There is no surrender, no guidance. It is a raging inferno, and unless you control it utterly, it will consume you. I've seen more than one man burnt to ashes by his own power because he was unable to assert his dominance over it." Some of the women in front of him looked intrigued and thoughtful. Others simply looked bored. A couple looked as though they might want to argue the point.

 

"Next," continued the Storm Leader, "is the taint. I don't care what you have heard about it. Until you feel it for yourself, you have no idea what to expect. And you all will by the end of this lesson. I will link with each of you, and let you feel it firsthand.

 

"Some of the rules of linking change when you add an Asha'man to the the circle, not the least of them being size. I understand that when women link, circles are limited to thirteen. Men cannot link at all without women, yet if a single man is included, the circle can have up to twenty six women. We'll give that a try toward the end of the lesson as well.

 

"So then. Who wants to volunteer to be first?" The young Andoran hid a grin as the Aes Sedai all turned on each other, trying to figure out who would get to, or maybe have to, go first. He still hadn't been able to figure out how Aes Sedai hierarchy worked. After a short while, one of the women stepped forward to be the first victim of the class. Arath gave her a small smile and nodded his thanks to her. "As you all probably know, the woman must initiate the link. As far as I can tell, it is done exactly the same way that you normally would. But you must be prepared to battle Saidin the moment you sieze it. Surrender, and you'll probably get both of us killed. Once the link is established though, things will change a little. While you must initiate the link, only a man can control it in a two person circle. If more women are added then one of them can take the lead, but in this circle you must pass control to me."

 

"So, unless there are any questions, shall we?"

 

OOC: Whoever feels like going first, feel free. Or if you want to criticize, complain, flaunt superior knowledge, look like a fool ... all that stuff is good too. :D

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Well, well. I have been out of the tower for some time, it seems. Putting Portia’s absence out of her mind, Saline gave a small smile tinged with wistfulness. So the Storm Leader decided to begin with talk of bonding. Choosing the Red Ajah, she never wanted a Warder to protect her. She wanted to rely on her own strength instead to protect others, so they could achieve their bright dreams and futures. From the time she was accepted into the Tower, there had been only one person she had joked about bonding. It was a bitter joke though, since the chances of Rory and Saline getting together had been practically non-existent. Rory had been a terrifying girl with bright hair. Meeting her was the best thing in Saline’s life. And . . . because she met Rory, she wanted to protect her with her own hands. She had thrown herself into training, knowing she could become strong through friendship and love, but how strong could even Aes Sedai be? Saline knew many were far ahead of her. That was, at least, a level that humans could attain.

 

Still, the idea of bonding was fascinating. The very possibility of a bond between two power users excited her. Even if it was between Asha’man and sisters, it opened up possible futures nobody could have foreseen happening a year ago. And to her dearest Rory Baker, whom she loved more than anything in this world, what would Rory think about two aes sedai bonding?

 

Saline sighed. The world was not ready for that.

 

In any case, Saline knew from past experience strength was not everything. There were peoples in her life without anything to do with saidin or saidar, and those people possessed the strength to surmount all barriers because of who they were.

Such a person was Lillian Tremina. Despite being one of the weakest, Lillian had Saline’s respect ever since that chore with the catapult when Saline was a novice. Under orders, Saline had flung a laughing Lillian through the air. The determination and courage had shone from Lillian so brightly that Saline had to look away.

 

Somehow, when Lillian volunteered to go first, Saline wasn’t very surprised.

 

-----

What does it mean to be strong?

 

Lillian asked herself.

 

As an aes sedai of the white tower, Lillian Tremina asked herself.

 

To be strong means never losing to anybody. In other words, it means to be absolutely the strongest.

 

Doubt arose in Lillian’s mind.

 

If that was the case, then . . . does such a thing as the strongest exist?

 

She searched through her memories for the existence of the strongest. Different sorts of strong people surfaced in her mind. The numerous people she encountered through her years, the valiant people she knew from books . . . They were strong people, but they had been far from the strongest. Even the best of men and women suffered failures. Half of those people reached the very end of their lives through that historical journey of failures, and became stronger for it. The failures matured most of them, as they learnt. But, if one goes through a series of failures in order to become stronger, then she clearly had not been the strongest. Were other creatures instead of humans that would be considered the strongest, since they survived longer?

 

If that were the case, what does it mean for them to be the strongest?

 

If she kept on following this line of thought, then the pattern itself was probably strongest. Should the pattern change, all the creatures on the world’s stage must adapt with it. In fact, there had been a huge change in the world recorded in the distant past, in an age before Lillian’s birth. Threads in the pattern dictate length of lives, as well as the encounters spun.

 

Could the pattern be the strongest force in this world?

 

That was somehow doubtful as well. There were humans in the past who could influence very weaves of the pattern itself. And people still survive and make choices in this world, despite the pattern’s changed self. We could create our own worlds and patterns, even isolated, in our own minds. Wasn’t that proof of being the strongest?

 

I am thinking too much.

 

Lillian abandoned her thoughts to watch the young man before her.

 

Here is a man who had to defeat the taint every time he touched Saidin.

 

Arath Faringal.

 

The newest teacher of aes sedai. His tongue belied his native Andoran origin, his face the smooth visage of a 20 year old. Lillian wouldn’t put it past him to need to shave only once every three days.

 

And Arath was the primary representative from the black tower. He belonged to a group that had enslaved the last faction of aes sedai who visited them at the farm under (her mentor’s mentor) Sirayn’s orders.

 

To Lillian, Sirayn was the closest to what could be the strongest (despite being weak in the one power like Lillian), but . . .

Even the Amyrlin Seat experienced defeat at the hands of Storm Leaders such as Arath.

 

It was very good to know that men could not link on their own without women, even though the knowledge must have come from somewhere, probably from aes sedai failures. Pushing that thought away for now, Lillian thought hard about how to work the strength of their current group.

 

After station, strength then age was how the aes sedai hierarchy operated. Since Lillian failed to espy any members of the Hall, she scanned the faces and noticed a plump face barely ten years older than Arath’s.

 

And already an Aes Sedai. Esther Tremaine, as Lillian later found out her name was, must have been quite strong in the Source to be raised at such an age.

 

And that left Lillian. Her skill with saidar built up over years of failure and experimentation. And with skill she could reach maybe one-half of what most aes sedai were capable of. Even now, she could read the gap between her and others. Lillian wondered if Arath could feel the higher strength of others surrounding her, and although nobody pushed for her to volunteer for the initial linking, tradition ran strong particularly in the face of change. She sensed the awkwardness, and had an idea how to break it.

 

But that would require strength from Lillian: the strength not to falter.

 

Saidin. Just thinking about that made her stomach hurt. She had experienced the taint only once, and briefly. It was a small experiment, but the effects of Saidin were enough to anybody run away very, very fast.

 

“We are the rarest of the rare. Human but not entirely human; off the beaten path. Even if we pass on this knowledge, it’d only be very little.” The man who linked momentarily with Lillian had said that when Lillian was slowly recovering from the oily taste of saidin. He had known his knowledge in the area was not an easy thing for Lillian to obtain. Although it sounded presumptuous, it was also true: “You’ve reached a fraction of my control, but it isn’t possible for you to get any better at it. It is better for you to use saidar when you’re in a crisis.”

Lillian had not felt disappointment back then. She understood and accepted the words. And this reality had not changed. She felt best when she held saidar and the coursing of the elements through her veins, not the taint.

 

Why was there a difference now?

 

How could Arath pass on his skill to all the aes sedai here when he was unable to explain his own rare ability to channel saidin? While nobody was born with an innate understanding of channeling, there were things beyond teaching, instincts that only the black tower men could make real. Just as Lillian was born with a weaker ability to draw in saidar, however many years longer she worked with the source than say, the newly raised Grey.

 

Against this type of situation, Lillian had no idea how to show her sisters Arath’s helplessness at teaching them. While they needed better training in the basics of saidin, and sure, on a basic level one could become stronger, but there was a level to how strongly the women could suppress the tainted flows.

 

Still, Lillian had to do something.

 

Stepping forward to feel the taint again took strength, a different kind from channeling ability.

At the edge of her vision, Lillian glimpsed some of her sisters wrap their shawls tighter around their bodies, despite the bright sun shooting into the courtyard.

 

The pain in her stomach hadn’t subsided, and she could also feel pressure from her chest. There was a certain dissatisfaction mixed up with the pain in Lillian’s stomach, despite the gentle smile she bore. It was so tiring to bear the brunt of duty face on, stepping toward Arath had reminded Lillian of her arches and even though she had not faltered, her best friend Taei Mirel had died in the same test which she took because of Lillian’s encouragement.

 

Lillian regulated her breathing through the Spring technique and maintained her smile. Tenseness would not help her. She needed a clear and calm mind, as always, through regulation of her body. The drumming of the heart had to overcome her fear.

Lillian wasn’t afraid of Arath getting mad. What mattered was finding out about things.

 

“Aaaaah. You said that twenty six women can join up if there is a single man. But, does it work the other way around? If a woman links with a man, how many men could join the circle?” As she asked those questions she assessed Arath’s situation along with hers “Also, will linking with me affect your bond partner at all? Sorry, but I know nothing about that area.” The identity of whom, Lillian aimed to investigate as soon as class ends. And when she does find out, she would realize her initial judgment was off the track. It was no longer a matter of what the reds were playing at, but the fact of the matter was, what her sisters were doing regardless of Ajah. Funny how it would take the threat of the black tower’s “co-operation” to transgress the divisions of Ajahs and unite the white.

 

Or would they tear us apart in recklessness, and leave us to drown asunder?

 

Those were the musings of Lillian Tremina, aes sedai of the white tower, as she contemplated the limits of strength and protection by the strong. She could have no confidence in learning deep theories unless she found answers to the knowledge which had been marginalized by tradition and fear.

 

Lillian Tremina

aes sedai of the white tower

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Arath thought about the questions for a moment. So far he hadn't noticed any reaction in the bond while practicing linking, and he was fairly sure that the Aes Sedai would know about something like that from their own warder bonds. "As far as affecting my bondmate, I don't think there is any effect. No more than there would be with your own warders. As for your other question ... we aren't sure yet. So far as I can tell, the number of men in the circle must always be less than or equal to the number of women, with one exception. It is possible for one woman to link with two men. This is also the only other time where a man must lead the circle. We also found that in a circle of twenty seven where there was only one man present, a woman had to lead. The man could not take control of the flows. However, when there were two men in the circle either of them could take the lead. I presume that the same rule applies for all sizes of circles, no matter how large it gets.

 

"If that is all then ..." At the Aes Sedai's nod, Arath assumed the void and prepared himself for the link. He hated it. Putting himself on the brink of siezing the source was difficult. The desire to move that hair's breadth and take hold of Saidin was almost impossible to combat, but worst of all was the taint. The longer he had to wait like this, the more he could feel it. All of the vileness, with none of the sweetness of Saidin. He was sure he waited no more than a few seconds, but despite the chill in the air his forehead was beaded with sweat. Fighting the taint like that was horrible. Soon enough though the Aes Sedai figured it out, and Saidin poured through him. At the same time, an awareness of sorts came upon him, and he could feel the emotions of the woman he was linked with. It wasn't like the bond he had with Jaydena, but it was similar in a way. He could feel some of her repulsion for the taint, her struggle to maintain control of Saidin. She also didn't seem overly surprised by any of it. Odd.

 

After a few moments, Arath reached out with his mind and felt control of the link slip to him. Immediately he felt Saidar flowing to him, and he fought the instinctive urge to fight it for control. He had made that mistake the first time, and had no intention of going through that again. Saidin was a violent storm which stood ready to scour him from the earth should he slip, but Saidar was far worse. Even attempting that struggle was a sure path to destruction. It was a very strange feeling to hold both powers in check, holding Saidin by the throat while gently guiding Saidar. And yet it felt oddly ... right. Complete. Like this was how it was supposed to be. And at the same time it felt like a completely unnatural thing. He doubted he would ever understand it in his lifetime. Even if that lifetime had looked to be more than a handful of years.

 

Once he felt comfortable with his control, Arath returned his focus to the task at hand. "It takes a lot of getting used to, but the things that can be done working like this are incredible. Most channeling effects are magnified in a way that can't be explained by sheer power." To demonstrate, Arath used Saidin and formed a fireball in front of him. He saw more than one Aes Sedai flinch away from the unseen flows and shook his head softly. Next, he formed a fireball from Saidar in front of his current linking partner, of the exact same size, with the exact same amount of the power. "Both of these are equal, made with just one half of the Power. This," he added, forming a new fireball with both halves of the Source, "is made with half as much of each power." Despite using the exact same amount of the One Power as the other two, this new ball of flame burned larger and brighter than either of the other two.

 

Letting all three wink out of existance, Arath continued. "I'm afraid it's a poor example, but it conveys the basic idea fairly well. There is a kind of synergy between the two powers when used together. It is difficult to use the other power seperately, although it can be done. Most weaves form very differently, even such a simple one as a fireball. However, it often isn't needed. I'm often able to weave everything with Saidin, then simply reinforce it with Saidar. It's hard to explain, but simple to figure out when you have the chance." Looking over the rest of the assembled Aes Sedai, Arath pointed to the youngest looking one. "You. Come here and enter into the link. There's only so much I can teach by talking. You all need to experience it, and unless there are two of you in the circle I have to lead it."

 

Quickly enough, the second sister was added into the circle, and Arath passed off control to one of them. Now they would begin the real learning.

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"So then. Who wants to volunteer to be first?"

 

Esther's head swivelled as she let herself feel the Strength of the women around her. Clearly she was the Strongest by quite a margin, and was therefore expected to take the lead since no one had been appointed otherwise, as the enquiring looks several of the others cast her way indicated. Which just went to show how utterly stupid that system was! She glared at several of the Reds - surely they were more au fait with Saidin than anyone else here! They adjusted their shawls and carefully avoided her eye, though. Tugging at her own, she was just about to step forward when she was saved from that ordeal by another. A White, she believed, searching her memory for the woman's name. Ahh yes - Lillian Tremina. She almost sighed in relief.

 

She leant forward and peered with interest as the Asha'Man demonstrated and explained, though most of it made very little sense to her. Her shawl slipped off one shoulder as she started to tap her lips with one finger. They had to fight to control Saidar? Interesting ... her greatest difficulty in learning to channel had been to surrender control. Esther had great difficulty in surrendering to anything. Maybe she really was pig-headed, as one of her Aes Sedai instructors had claimed.

 

"You. Come here and enter into the link."

 

Esther barely suppressed a squeak as the Asha'man pointed straight to her. Oh Light! Bracing her shoulders she stepped forward and put herself on the brink. If any of the Aes Sedai ... the other Aes Sedai ... dared to laugh at her ... this time she did let out a huge gust of a sigh as he managed to pull her into the link at the first try. She was so panicked at the thought that he might pass control of this link to her, that it took her a moment to feel the full effects of Saidin. And of the man she was linked to.

 

Saidin was ... wild, raging, utterly frightning and ... strangely exhilarating. Her eyes started to glow and she had to breath deeply and slowly to calm herself enough to retain her grip ... Oh Light, the nausea! Her eyes were fairly popping by the time he passed control of the link to Lillian. Relief at not having the responsibility for that warred with a desire to grapple with and control this unbelievable force.

 

 

Esther Tremaine

Squeaky New Gray Sister

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By the time the boy had asked for a volunteer Kathleen had let any thought his age leave her mind. His being sent to teach them may have been an attempt to mock the Aes Sedai, but it very well may not have. Either way they would surely not have sent someone who didn't know what they were doing. It would be hard enough to teach someone who knew nothing about what you were teaching, and it was going to be harder still to teach some of these sisters about something they thought they knew. No they did know Saidan, but they knew Saidar and it was only reasonable to assume that some of these Aes Sedai would let that go to their heads. Some would think the male half of the One Power would have to be similar to the female half, and would think that with them being halves of the same thing they would underestimate the differences. Surely the Ashamen who sent the teacher would have known this, so the boy should have been well trained and well in control. She gave him the benefit of the doubt that he was wiser than his years in this. She couldn't change who had been sent, so she had pushed her negative thoughts out of her head before he spoke and accepted him as the legitimate teacher that he was.

 

Still, when he asked for a volunteer to go first her reaction was to draw as little attention as possible. While she was very eager to learn she had always had very strong feelings about being the first to go forward, or to be the last. She had never liked eyes on her, the attention and remembrance given to the first and last to do something was always more than the people in between. She had thought she had kicked this flaw years ago, but when the call came up for a volunteer she felt like a Novice in her first class again and thanked the Light that she was not the strongest among her Sisters today. She was surprised when the White rose, she was not the strongest in the power, but neither was Kathleen and she was not about say something and draw attention to herself.

 

She sat up straighter and listened carefully to what the Ashaman was saying and she watched as White linked with him. A chill ran up her back, she knew it was just the nervous, and not any effect of the Power. When he pointed out to the newest Gray to come a small stab of jealousy hidden by her relief went through her. She was happy she had not been singled out as the first to join the circle, and she was glad she would be hearing what was going to be happening before doing it herself, but still on some level she was jealous that she was not experiencing it. She knew she would be so she sat and tried to learn as much as she could through watching the others as she waited for her turn. There were always perks to not being the first she reminded herself, it gave others a chance to make mistakes and have them be corrected. It give a chance for others to go through it and tell her what to expect. It was one thing to hear it from a man who experienced it everyday with no idea the true difference of channeling Saidar the way a woman would, it was quite another to hear the reactions and advice of those who were doing exactly what she would be. Kathleen sat calmly, watching closely every movement, and taking in every detail of what was being said as she nervously away her turn.

 

Kathleen Vandiar

Green Aes Sedai

Edited by Kathleen
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Lillian nodded. The answers the boy had given confirmed the knowledge most women in the circle already knew. She didn't understand some of it in the past, and it seemed like she still couldn't get to the bottom of it now, but she was here. Right here where saidin is being taught at the present.

 

It wasn't like her to worry about strength. She was still insisting on doing this. That's her style. After all, nothing was more important to Lillian who was tortured by a sense of impotence than "what can I do" in any given situation.

 

She quickly sorted the messy flow of saidar and gathered the source to her, feeling the power increase in her veins as she placed herself on the brink of channelling. When they linked she experienced the oily taint of saidin, but it comforted her to feel a resonance of similar emotions within her link partner.

 

Creating a giant fireball made from both halves, Arath drew from their reservoir, more from her. But she let him take more power from her. Because her body was strong and wouldn’t fall. Strong and wouldn’t be torn apart, no matter how much was drawn. She watched as its density and amount continued to increase. Saidar increased in her body too, particularly with the addition of a new member. She ignored the overwhelming exhilaration and fright that accompanied the jolt of power running through her. They were not her feelings.

 

When control of their link passed to her, Lillian didn't hesitate from accepting the responsibility. The power density had increased to a level she hadn’t experienced before. It hadn’t reached the level of when she linked with her sisters in battle against the shadow, but she had never experienced this amount of saidar being produced by herself. She no longer knew what her expression was, or what her body looked like to others. She was focused on the power stirring within.

 

"In that case!" Lillian wove spirit and let out the incredible rumbling energy within her. Flash.

 

She recalled Saya's words when demonstrating the flash technique before. There was no trick to it, although Lillian had adapted it as a technique for her strongest fights, against other channellers. One didn’t have to use strange moves no matter how delicate a change the battle experienced. The strategy was to attack decisively and stop the opponent from using their strategy. Inability to carry this out meant defeat and weaving a counter tactic also meant defeat. Inability to last was also defeat. Because of Lillian's weak strength in the power, she had to utilize all the potential in her--by being smarter and quicker--in a fight that was overwhelming in the favor of her enemy. And though it was counter intuitive, she had to attack to keep testing her boundaries. It was not like her to worry about strength, like she had before, because she couldn't fight stronger opponents if she kept worrying about how to confidently protect herself.

 

And that was the essence of the flash technique. How can one weave threads when s/he cannot see?

 

Was she smiling about that or because she was soaking in both halves of the power?

 

As everybody recovered from Lillian's demonstration of flash, Lillian asked "Kathleen, would you like to try?"

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It had been two days since the bundle of emotions first appeared, the mental manifestation of the bond between her and Aslan, that you man who had dared to touch her--dared to channel that dispicable weave on her! She had taken four baths in those two days and locked herself up in her quarters since that first meeting with him, undecisive as to what to do with him. As if she really could do anything about him.

 

Jagen let out a deep breath and set aside her cello. The instrument wad bringing her no comfort today, and neither did her others. She could barely make it through one song. Besides, it was getting to be time for her to leave.

 

She knew about the "class" being held downstairs, one that would introduce the male half of the Power to those unfamilar with it. She hated the idea, but there was little she could do to stop it. She could, however, make her presence to watch over the Sisters who would be attending. They needed someone there who was strong in the Power and experienced at dealing with men who can channel, and someone who also had high standing in the Tower.

 

Who better than Jagen, a familiar face to younger sisters from her time teaching history or channeling, a Sitter of the Red?

 

Jagen was known as a traditionalist, too, and whether that worked for or against her in the eyes of others, she was unsure. What was important however, was how she dealt with things herself. The world was rocking in turmoil. Recently, she recieved a report that Tarabon had been invaded by these Seanchan. She would need to be heading home soon then, to see what she could with her own eyes. Her people needed her help.

 

Yet, the White Tower itself, also her home, seemed to be losing itself too, letting men who could channel too freely come onto their grounds, like the one today. Where Jagen wanted to put up a fence to keep wolves away from her sanctuary, it seemed the Tower wanted to tear it down. A dangerous tide on the coast threatening to drown her home. Where Jagen wanted to plant her feet stubbornly in the ground, others wanted to push her forward.

 

She grabbed her red-fringed shawl and put it over a deep crimson silken dress of Taraboner cut, arranging her beaded braids. Ever a traditionalist, she still wore a transparent Taraboner veil over her ageless, doll-like face.

 

She walked with a purposeful stride toward the area of the Tower grounds this travesty would be taking place in, her blue eyes fixing right on the young man as he began to speak. No, apparently they had already begun, and Jagen watched from a little distance behind as a younger White volunteered herself.

 

She drew in a breath, on the verge of embracing the Source. Already they had moved onto linking. She vexed, hoping the Sister had some warning beforehand on what shecwas going to experience. She seemed to handle it well, though Jagen had no desire to put herself through such a thing. A second sister joined, careful. Just watching them, imagining what they were going through, whatever they felt and were experiencing, made her own stomach churn. Suddenly she noticed Kathleen among the group, and Jagen nodded to herself. At least there was one who would really know what she was doing. However, she just wasn't sure about the rest.

 

Gritting her teeth, she raised her head. Tight-lipped, she walked regally amongst the Sisters, pleased to see another familar Red. Yet Jagen's dark blue gaze was still fixed on that young man, that boyish weapon like Aslan. The Asha'man who held her bond. Jagen recognized him from their bonding meeting. Oh yes, she would not forget a single one of their faces. She would take care of them all, one day, after this foolishness was over. Even now her narrowed gaze held contempt and hatred for the tool in front of her. It would serve it's use, then be melted and discarded.

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Kathleen watched as Lillian took her turn at the lead and when the woman called out to ask if she would like to come next Kathleen simply nodded and rose. She made her way confidently to where the others were waiting for her to join the circle. Well at least she appeared confident. If her Sisters where forest creatures they would have sensed the terror running through her. She knew that most of her fear was just of the unknown, she tried to remind herself that everything was unknown at one point and there was no reason to fear. There is a first time for everything. These women in front of her had just done it and they hadn't exploded so why should she fear. As long as she took control of it, and not let herself drown in it trying to surrender to it like Saidar.

 

She had been told what she needed to do, she was a perfectly capable woman. She looked around at the woman and reminded herself that while she may be nervous of this new experience she still represented the Green Ajah. If a Sister from any other Ajah let her fear show of this it would be only appropriate, but she was a Green. She was from the Battle Ajah. She was the protector, the strength in the Tower, the one who was to face fear and death and change and be prepared for all of these things at any given moment. She was the one who was supposed to be able to take any situation no matter how intense or no matter how many odds were against her and fight through, using quick thinking and sometimes unconventional methods and be able to make split second decisions. She had faced far more dangerous situation than this with even less information to go forward with. This was a class, a demonstration, and it was safe. The only thing to be concerned about was that it was new to her. And as long as she reminded her self that while it is new to her it is not new to everyone and she had seen others do it. She was about to learn something new and this thought made her excitement surface.

 

By the time she had made it to the others they had done all the shifting needed for her to join the circle and she was as calm on the inside as she had been the whole time on the outside. She stepped up across from the Ashaman and starred into his eyes. She wasn't intimidating him, or even really judging him, she just wanted to see what kind of a person he was. Not that she assumed there would be sold black eyes staring back if he were the slightest bit mad or evil, it was just something her father had taught her as a child. To look into the eyes of any person you were putting your faith in before you gave them anything they could use against you. She nodded when she was ready and brought herself to the brink. She knew she couldn't hesitate, she had to be prepared for what ever this taint would feel like and she needed to fight the rush that was about to surge through her as she joined the circle.

 

She didn't have a chance to assess it before she was comfortably in the circle. She was amazed at how it felt flowing through her. A circle always allowed for more power but this was more than that. It felt wrong but it still felt right somehow. She didn't understand it but she could use it. It was hard to keep the balance between fighting Saidan and gently leading Saidar, and that oily taint made it even harder to handle, but she found if she stopped trying to think it all through and study every feeling it became easier. She let if flow through her and after a short time she was able to manipulate it and use it almost as easily as she could in a circle of only her Sisters. Still this was much stronger. She didn't want to let it go when her time had ended. She knew there were others who needed a turn, and she didn't want to seem greedy, but she knew that this very well could be last time she would experience this. She was starting to think that an Ashaman warder would not be such a bad idea as she had once thought, especially for a Green. If only they wouldn't go mad.

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Celestine shut the door to her new quarters quietly, even though there really was no need. She didn't wish to catch the sight of any other sisters who may stop her and ask her to do something, and though she wanted to rush down the hall, she knew it wouldn't be very Aes Sedai-like of her. Instead, she walked at a brisk pace, though it was a bit uncomfortable. She had only taken the Oaths and taken up her shawl almost a week ago, and the Binding from the Oaths still made her skin feel a bit tight.

 

Dressed simply in an Andoran cut, yellow wool dress, Celestine's only other pieces were fine slippers and her yellow fringed, vine decorated shawl, hanging in the crooks of her elbows. She wore only her ring for jewelry, trying not to catch too much attention. The young woman smiled lightly. The moment she had heard that an Asha'man would be teaching about saidin and linking, she had arranged her scheduel and workings very carefully to make sure she could attend, while not arousing suspicion. Who knew if the Sisters or Sitters would be angry if she attended such a thing? But Celestine's curiosity drove her.

 

And so she found herself soon approaching a group of Aes Sedai, and a black-coated man who stood out like a thorn among roses. She drew her shawl up, nervous, yet her eyes scanned the area. A White, Green, two Reds, a Gray. She wasn't sure to be surprised or not about the Reds. One looked ready to chew the man's head off. She recognized the Gray, Esther, newly raised like her.

 

I'm the only Yellow, it seems. She was glad to be representative there, yet awkwardly so too, being so new. It didn't matter, she supposed. She sat down quietly, watching Esther, who looked like she was experiencing something unbelievable. Linking, then. They were already linking! What did it feel like? She wondered, shivering. It was a frightening concept, yet the women dealt with it with fair ease. It made her feel a little better. She regretted coming in late, wondering what she missed, and yet contented herself with just watching. Could she, would she, try something like this?

 

I suppose I could try... how else am I going to learn about saidin? She thought with an excited smile.

 

 

Edited by Jagen Sedai
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ooc: Hope you don't mind me sneaking in *grins*. I figured if Celestine could have just joined then Mimi can too!

 

---

 

The Accepted practically scurried out of the classroom. She dropped her books once, squeaked, and then dashed away after quickly retrieving them. Light, you’d think Miahna was a Trolloc! She must be new to the ring, the dark haired Blue mused to herself. Either that or she wouldn’t reach the shawl for a long time. She certainly wasn’t showing any of the self-control that Accepted usually did. She’d blanched when Miahna had suggested practicing with the One Power on her own and nearly wet herself when the Arafellin had asked to speak with her after class. It was definitely not a normal reaction.

 

Furrowing her brow in thought, Mimi gathered her things and retreated to her quarters. She hadn’t been back to the Tower in many years and had only been back for a few days when the Mistress of Novices had roped her into teaching a class on defensive weaves. Though her original intention was to refuse, her Sisters had persuaded her to take the instruction. The Blue was a small Ajah and the unit in the Tower was even smaller. Any face time with initiates would be good for the Ajah. Reluctantly Miahna had seen their reasoning and accepted her fate. It wasn’t that she didn’t enjoy teaching, because she did, but she was already itching to move again. The Blue had become a bit of a nomad in the past few decades, and she’d now been in the same place for over a month. It was…confining.

 

Mimi threw her things down on the bed and then rushed off again, this time toward the Tower grounds. She’d met a few Asha’man in her time out and about, but hadn’t really spent much time with them. The dark coated men had seemed skittish around her once they spied her ageless face. She didn’t really blame them with Aes Sedai history. Though thoughts had started to change recently – as evidenced by the non-Gentled man outside. Teaching a class no less!

 

Lifting her dark gray skirts, Mimi trailed down the steps until she found the group of women surrounding the very young man. Here he was at the top of his rank at the same age she’d been when she arrived at the White Tower. My how these Towers were different. Black indeed. Looking around, Miahna spotted a healthy contingency of Ajahs, Green, Gray, Yellow, White. It didn’t surprise her that she was the only Blue as there were few in the Tower. She was annoyed at being late, but the Wheel weaves how the Wheel wills. The Accepted simply had to be dealt with before she did harm to herself and others.

 

Noticing that the other Sisters had embraced the Source, Miahna did the same and waited patiently to be included into the class. She watched the faces of the Aes Sedai that linked with the Asha'man and surmised that he was linking to allow the women to feel Saidin. Her years in the field chasing Darkfriends had hardened her somewhat and the Arafellin no longer shivered when she thought of the taint within Saidin. She'd seen some pretty awful things. Besides, nothing could compare to her own life. She did still occasionally shudder at that. Still, Mimi was very curious about the male half of the One Power and it's corrupting influence.

 

She would have to apologize to the chi…young man after they were all through for the day. For now, the Blue continued to study her Sisters and await her turn.

Edited by keyholder21
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  • 2 months later...

OOC: Aww crap ... forgot about this ... sorry ladies.

 

Although he had some limited practice with circles before now, Arath was still not sure what to think of the sensation. The strange emotional link that the circle provided was unnerving enough, but the feel of Saidin rushing through him without the need to fight it to his will ... that was just beyond strange. The first few times he had done this he had managed to rip control of the circle from his partner in his panic to control Saidin. That had not gone over well. Zarinen had been less than happy.

 

The demonstrations proceeded quickly. Each Aes Sedai entered the link and took control of the circle briefly. Some of them simply held the flows for a moment, studying the feeling, but most made an attempt to weave Saidin. Almost all of them grimaced in disgust at the taint, several of them looking close to losing their breakfast. Once the last of them had had a chance to lead the circle, late arrivals included, the final sister passed the link back into Arath's control. Slightly relieved to be fighting Saidin again, the young Storm Leader turned to the cluster of Aes Sedai and continued with his lesson.

 

"As you can see, there are a few differences between how Saidin and Saidar are handled. There are very few weaves that are formed the same way for either power, and even those have subtle differences. Being in a circle is the only time to learn how to do things the other way. So long as I am linked with any of you, I can see your flows of Saidar, and you my flows of Saidin. I still cannot see what anyone else is doing with it, but it gives me the chance to become familiar with your weaves. Very important when it comes to countering them. I've had to combat Saidar a few times in the past, and the little I've learned in the last few days would have been invaluable to me back then. Hopefully you will find the same benefit from these exercises."

 

"I do want to stress how important it is that you don't try to weave Saidin in the same way you weave Saidar. The best example of this is with Travelling." Motioning to his side, Arath began to slowly form the weave for a gateway, using only Saidin. As the weave gradually took shape, Arath explained what he was doing. "To travel with Saidin requires the channeler to fold two pieces of the pattern together, and bore a hole from one to the other. I honestly don't know what might happen if I were to attempt the same with Saidar, and I really don't care to find out." Several horrified faces among the Aes Sedai were clearly in agreement. Finishing the weave, Arath waited for the rotating portal to fully open before he continued. "This is the largest gateway I can manage by my own strength." It was a respectable sized gateway, large enough for a medium sized cart to pass through, if the driver was careful. "I haven't yet mastered your version of Travelling, but like I said before, it is much easier to simply reinforce my own weaves with Saidar. This is what I can do with both powers."

 

Letting his first gateway snap shut, Arath prepared another, much larger weave with Saidin. The weave should have collapesed into a useless mess, but Arath fed Saidar into his original flows, strengthening them and making them appear more solid. When the weave finished, the familiar slash of light appeared and rotated into an enormous gateway, by far the largest Arath had ever seen. A hundred paces wide, and tall enough for a man to ride through with a lance held high. One the other side was a massive expanse of open grasslands, somewhere to the west of Tar Valon.

 

Letting the giant gateway snap shut again, Arath let the circle dissolve and released the source. "There are a lot of things we still don't know. An entire Age worth of knowledge left to rediscover. But light willing, we will be able to figure out enough, quickly enough to make a difference. Now then, does anyone have any questions?"

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(OOC figured you weren't too far ahead that Ama couldn't observe)

 

Amadine ruffled the child's hair and took a sweet from the jar upon her desk in the Infirmary popping it into his mouth. "Now young man," she chided gently, "No more climbing trees for you today."

 

Just minutes ago the child of about ten had been bellowing in agony, his broken tibia protruding from the skin on his lower leg. He'd been climbing trees in the Warder's Yard to get a better view of the sparring while his mother cleaned in the barracks. He'd lost his grip and fallen, landing on his lower leg, breaking it in half cleanly. On the the trainees from the yard had carried the child to the infirmary with the child's wailing mother trailing behind. Though Amadine was not strong in the Power she was a very proficient Healer and the leg bone had been Healed in the course of a few moments under Amadine's practiced weaving.

 

The child's mother offered thanks again as Amadine showed her out. Just as she returned to her desk a bell deep within the Tower tolled for the hour and another Yellow Sister entered the Infirmary, Amadine's shift for the day was at an end, but she had decided that morning to head out for the Ogier grove that afternoon to document and collect herbs from the shady floor of the forest. Collecting a basket and the necessary books she bade her Yellow Sister goodbye and headed out to walk through the gardens to the grove.

 

As Amadine passed through an open area within the Tower grounds she saw an odd gathering. A single man dressed in black, and Sisters of almost every Ajah - each Sister was wearing her shawl, the fringed fabric shawls drawn close about themselves, her own shawl was back in her rooms, she had not anticipated needing its security nor its authority today. Amadine suppressed an involuntary shudder, the man must be one of those Ashaman. Men who could channel, Light! She had heard they were within the Tower, but due to her continued duties this was the first time she had actually seen one. Stepping back into the shadows of a tall oak Amadine set her basket on the ground and set herself to observe to proceeding.

 

A pair of Sisters appeared to be linked with the Ashaman, Ama could see the weaves of Saidar emanating from the young man but there were... holes in those weaves. Amadine could think of no other way to describe what she was seeing. She realised with a start that those holes were not holes, they were in fact the places in the weaves were Saidin ran. The male half of the One Power.

 

Amadine watched on, observing, taking mental notes. She had no desire to be a guinea pig in these first lessons, but the Yellow in her demanded she study the implications that channelling the opposite half of the One Power could have on a person's body. Basket forgotten she moved closer while still remaining in the shadows, she preferred to do her observations unseen. The Sisters were standing with their backs to Amadine's position, but if the Ashaman looked in the right direction he would see her. Nervously smoothing the skirts of her pale yellow riding dress, Ama finally remember to take out her notebook from her belt pouch and begin taking notes.

 

As she watched the linked circle grew as more of the Aes Sedai joined the circle, until as she watched a slash of light rotated and opened into a hole in the air. Travelling. Amadine had not yet been taught how to open a gateway, though truth be told she was not strong enough to open one without an angreal anyway. The gateway snapped shut and Amadine could see the flash of rotating light begin again, these weaves though were laced with Saidar - she had seen nothing of the weaves of the first gateway. The rotating light opened into a massive gateway, fully one hundred paces across Amadine marveled at the results of using the two halves of the power in conjunction with each other. Scribbling furiously in her notebook Amadine did not see the gateway snap shut, nor when the Ashaman dissolved the circle.

 

She was musing to the fact if the Ashaman would allow her to delve him to see if there were adverse effects from Saidar, when she glanced back up, she realised that she had not been standing deep enough in the shadows, the Ashaman caught her gaze in his own. Before he looked away Amadine steeled herself and gave him a respectful nod to acknowledge him. She would not scurry away, to run and hide from this man, perhaps once the lesson was done she would be able to speak with him.

 

Amadine al'Varine

Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah

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