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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Rydia in Tar Valon (Attn: MoN/Amadine)


minisamus
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Ooc: Rydia's new arrival thread, as we agreed on. I see no reason not to use the first post 'cept to modify it a bit so here it is. Thanks.

 

All around, in an endless fierce glitter, were countless image. She stood there, blinking at the sudden brightness. Her vision steadied, and Rydia began to sort out what she could see. They were in a high vaulted hall; its white walls were hung with rich tapestries and brilliant paintings. She looked back. There, across the hall, were the immense carved doors which had slammed behind them (with a long creak and a deep-echoing crash) when first they entered, side by side.

 

Here and there were groups and pairs of people walking; they lifted their heads, now and then, to acknowledge the aes sedai’s presence beside her. The sunlit hallway seemed to go on forever and ever, and they were studded with more windows than anything Rydia had yet to see. At length they rounded the bend, and came to a stairwell.

 

The aes sedai stood at the bottom of the steps, a neat dark figure, her face upturned and inscrutable. “Ah, here we are.”

 

She glanced at the aes sedai, and then ahead. The narrowing stone staircase rose to a square pillared doorway ornamented with carved scrolls and figures.

 

The aes sedai said, as Rydia climbed the folding steps, “it is the office of the Mistress of Novices. Valeri Sedai, she is called. Go inside, child . . . she has been expecting you.” The last words wafted up faintly, “we will meet again, if it pleases the light.”

 

Rydia was shaken, alarmed. But the aes sedai had already walked away, not waiting to see whether or not her words had any impact.

 

The door stood slightly ajar. Nothing but darkness was visible from within. Rydia stained to see more clearly, hardly daring to breathe. The door opened before her a little more, but the light that shone within reflected nothing but its own brilliance, like the gleaming empty page in a huge book.

 

Taking a deep breath, Rydia pushed in without the aes sedai and spun around, making sure to close the door swiftly behind her so it didn’t slam shut. Nevertheless, she had disturbed the expectant one called Valeri Sedai, or so she assumed was the woman sitting on the other side of a desk which, like everything else in this tower so far, looked very nice.

 

The trapper’s daughter said uncertainly, “So sorry for this intrusion, but I have come to learn how to be an aes sedai.”

 

Despite the clear request in her words, she backed off a little way; her face looked pinched and ill. But there was no turning back now that she was seen.

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Valeri was seated behind her desk penning missives to her contacts outside of the White Tower. Carefully she poured a little sand across the page to absorb the excess ink, then she folded the letter and heated her stick of wax with a small flow of fire. Dripping the wax carefully onto the letter she set the stick aside and lifted her gleaming brass seal, a 'V' set in the centre of a starburst, and pressed it into the rapidly setting pool of wax. Setting that letter aside with the others she took up her pen again.

 

As she began to write the door opened and a young girl stepped inside and quickly closed the door behind her. Valeri lifted her eyes to the girl with a quizzical expression.

 

"So sorry for the intrusion, but i have come to learn how to be an Aes Sedai." the girl explained hurriedly and her face paled.

 

Gathering her letters in one hand Valeri smiled at the child, "Come in dear, you may sit there." Valeri indicated the lightly padded chair in front of her desk with her free hand while tucking her letters into a drawer with the other. "Tell me child, how did you come to arrive at the White Tower?"

 

Valeri Kinaea

Mistress of Traditional Novices

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Sitting down took a fair bit of courage, although once perched on its cushion, Rydia found that the chair she had been commanded to occupy was more than comfortable. Luxuries from mixing with high society, and living the high life, no doubt. It was strange being in a building, after setting up camp every day for the last month. The aes sedai who travelled with Rydia was certainly elegant. She required that Rydia followed her at a discreet distance, and then whenever the aes sedai gestured, Rydia would hand her stuff, like quills or a hat. But it was hardly as though Rydia came along just to carry items and make tea for the aes sedai. She folded her hands primly over her lap and spoke clearly, "I was brought here, Valeri Sedai. An aes sedai tested me in Bethal, my hometown, and found me capable of learning how to channel."

 

Despite its proper enunciation, Rydia's tone was strained. Then again, who wouldn't be nervous at being surrounded by the most powerful women in the world? And what choice would she have but to submit, as she had back in Ghealdan? She hesitated, before adding, "I was informed that I would be expected, aes sedai."

 

Rydia swallowed hard. Was that too forward of her? Maybe she should have just stuck with answering what she'd been asked.

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"I was brought here, Valeri Sedai. An aes sedai tested me in Bethal, my hometown, and found me capable of learning how to channel." The child hesitated for a moment before adding "I was informed that I would be expected, Aes Sedai."

 

Recognition flashed through Valeri's thoughts, "Ah yes child... Rydia, isn't it?" The lass nodded and Valeri continued, "I did receive word that you were being bought to the White Tower, though I did not expect your arrival for another day or two yet."

 

Valeri rose from her chair and moved to the tea table on the far wall beneath the window and made a fresh post of her favourite Saldaean blend of tea. The blend always reminded her of home. Smiling she carrying the pot and two cups back to the desk and placed them on the tabletop. She poured the tea and moved one of the cups to in front of the girl.

 

"So child, with the question of your innate ability already answered, do you have any questions for me before we make your stay in the Tower more permanent?"

 

Valeri Kinaea

Mistress of Traditional Novices

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So it seems like this place, or at least Valeri Sedai, encouraged questioning. The aes sedai was smiling, but who knew how she would react if Rydia were to admit she had nothing to ask? Rydia was one of those people that took the turnings of the wheel as they came, and spent very little time on thinking about her life, when she could be doing better stuff, such as keeping warm or sleeping. She felt tired in the warmth of the room. She needed something stimulating. As though the aes sedai had read Rydia's mind, Valeri Sedai began to steep some tea. Rydia relaxed more as, after a moment, a wonderful smell wafted toward her, reminding her of white lilies at night.

 

"Thanks for the tea" Rydia said, leaning over to grab the cup. She would be an idiot to turn it down. If there was one thing Rydia knew, you did not want to anger the sisters, particularly when they are offering stuff, that might come back . . .

 

Taking a sip of tea to stall for a little time to think, Rydia felt a little better. She did not recognise the tea but it tasted even better than its fragrant smell. The tea woke her up, but was still not conducive to thinking and asking questions. Sure, it was strange that the aes sedai should choose Rydia of all people to take to the tower but, the aes sedai were a very well respected folk where Rydia lived and her father had no complaints if his daughter was going to become more than a trapper, even if that was not what neither of he nor his daughter had envisioned.

 

She and the aes sedai looked at each other and, then, laying aside the tea Rydia replied sheepishly, "sorry, I haven't thought of any."

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"sorry, I haven't thought of any." Rydia replied with a sheepish, nervous smile.

 

Valeri returned the smile and said "That's quite alright child, i am sure with time you will have questions, and my door is always open to the girls in my care. Now, let's see about entering you in the Novice Book shall we?"

 

Without waiting for a reply Valeri eased the large drawer that held the Novice Book open and lifted the heavy age-darkened leather bound book and placed it on the table before her. Opening the book to the current pages and took up her pen. "Can you tell me your full name, place of birth and raising and your current age please Rydia."

 

As the girl spoke Valeri carefully filled in the details in her elegant script and finished with her signature. Setting her pen down Valeri smiled at the lass seated before her, still clutching her tea cup, and spoke formally "Welcome to Tar Valon Rydia Burgess. Welcome to the White Tower Novice Rydia."

 

Valeri did not expect a reply and rose from her chair again to moved to the large timber wardrobe that stood in the far corner of her study. Visually sizing up the girl; Valeri pulled a pair of dresses, several shifts, soft slippers, a belt and a pouch from the piles within the wardrobe. She carried the garments to where Rydia sat and placed the pristine white pile in her lap. Setting a small token engraved with her own name on top, Valeri spoke as she returned to her seat, "These should serve you well over the coming days child. When you are settled take the token to the seamstresses; they will measure you and make you as many garments as you require."

 

Valeri Kinaea

Mistress of Traditional Novices

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Finally! Something she could answer. "I am Rydia Burgess of Bethal, Ghealdan. I turned 15 last spring."

 

She had thought more testing would be in order but Valeri Sedai seemed to trust what Rydia said. Besides, everybody knew you should never lie to an aes sedai. As if Rydia would lie to anybody, anyway. Her father brought up a daughter up-holding the forthright honesty of the Burgesses, thank you very much.

 

After carefully marking Rydia down in what she would later find out was called the novice books, the aes sedai gave her a set of very soft clothing, and then a token for the seamstresses. Rydia examined the wooden carving. She could barely make out the embossed V, so elaborate was the design. Rydia had learnt how to sew of course but it was only in stringing together furs, nothing so skilled as to produce fancy slippers and shifts. The only complaint Rydia would have was the colour which was rather dull. But since white identified her as a novice she would wear it proudly.

 

The aes sedai pulled at a silvery bell and a young waif in all white, bobbing her head and sinking down into a deep curtsy to reflect her respect. The girl was then instructed to take Rydia to a novice room. Rydia was very glad to have such a guide. From the looks of the white tower it would be ridiculously easy to get lost in. She suddenly had a winding image of herself as an old woman, wandering about the window-dotted halls forever.

 

Picking up her pace, the newest novice to the tower introduced herself: "Hi, I'm Rydia. Please look after me!"

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