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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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Phelix

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Gera sighed as the last of her students left the classroom. Each and every one of them expected her to hold their hands and walk them through the weaves one by one. She was teaching a class in advanced weaves of Water, so it shouldn't be that difficult for most of the girls. Rubbing her back, Gera gathered her materials and walked back to the Accepted's Galleries. They weren't as full as they could be, but there were still young women relaxing and enjoying each other's company.

 

As she opened the door to her room, Gera saw an Accepted she wanted to speak with, so she quickly put everything she was carrying in its proper place. The habits of a lifetime die hard... in her previous life, that particular habit had saved her life multiple times.

 

Back out in the Gallery, she saw Leala sitting in a comfortable plush chair near a window reading. Gera walked with purpose, not quite the glide of a full sister, to the other Accepted.

 

"May I join you?" At the other woman's nod, Gera sat across from her in a second plush chair. "I would like your opinion, Leala. Over the last few months, the girls in my classes have seemed to do less work than ever before. They expect me to take them step by step, showing them where to lay each thread of the Power... it wasn't like this before. Have the girls changed? Have I? Am I expecting them to work too much?"

 

Gera respected the other Accepted's opinion, especially because before she had been raised, Gera had observed her interactions in the Tower. The girl had potential.

 

Gera Mondwin

~Accepted

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Leala moved her shoulders up and down against the plush chair. It was hard to relax after the day that she had. She had been hunched over a hard wooden chair, taking notes for a very wordy Red. Shifting again, she tried to read her book with her back against the chair and her neck straight. This wasn't quite working. She wanted to find another lesson for her literature class. She was sifting through poems now, but she couldn't pull anything out of them at all. This was simply not working. She would just have to pull out one of her alternate lesson plans that she had made when she first started teaching the class. She let her head drop against the back of the chair and closed her eyes. She had kept an Aes Sedai-like composure until then. But in this moment where she was beyond the point of even relaxing, it was all but impossible.

 

"May I join you?" a familiar voice asked.

 

Her gray eyes opened and she saw Gera, an Accepted that she had met when she was a Novice. She had felt like the other woman was trying to take advantage of her at the time, but when she thought about it, the other woman was most likely trying to teach her an important lesson. Gera was one of the older Accepted, looking to be either in her fifties or sixties. She nodded for the other Accepted to join her in a chair next to hers. Leala closed her now useless book and listened to her woes. After listening, she thought that the only way to assess the problem would be to understand what weaves she was working with. "It sounds as though they're feeling over-worked from their other duties. Novices usually enjoy taking classes about the One Power." She remembered that Gera taught a class on more advanced weaves with Water. "Which weaves are you using? Would you like me to observe the class the next time you teach it? Perhaps if I saw their attitudes, I could give some advice."

 

OOC: Oh, I remember having this conversation with I was a TA alll the tiiiime. xD

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Running as quickly as her feet would carry her while still being graceful, Aliena rushed from the library, carrying a stack of books as high as the tower itself. She had to rush quickly back to her room, switch books, and still make it to class on time. It was a constant cycle, and as the wheel turned, so did her head. It was all so dizzying: the classes, the studying, the chores... Her hands had never felt so chapped before in her life. She had never felt so dirty while in a clean dress. Even just getting from one place to another left her in a cold sweat from the rushing and the fear of failure. No one gave her even the slightest break, and trying to please everyone was simply impossible when she couldn't please ANYONE!

 

Getting closer to her room, she was so happy to see Caillean, her awesome roommate, heading back to her room as well with a stack of books. Thank the Light I am not the only one... Aliena called out to Caillean as she rushed to her room, "Wait for me!" Speeding up even more, she dropped all of the books onto her bed and picked up another one from her desk, along with the rest of her supplies. Why do books have to be so heavy?! Looking down at her hands, she felt the blood flowing again, and she dashed from her rooms, almost running into Caillean.

 

"Oh Caillean, does it ever get any easier?" Aleina sighed, carrying around a ton of books as she felt her feet fall off for the tenth time that day. Rushing around, she constantly felt torn this way and that, always striving to keep up with the requirements, the lessons, and the weaves. Not a single day had passed since she arrived that she had felt even slight success, and it was begining to feel more and more like she was on a downward spiral. If it wasn't for her wonderful Caillean, Aliena had no idea what she would do. Having a next door neighbor that seemed to be in all of her classes helped to keep her somewhat sane. "I mean, I wanted to come and learn, but there is just SO MUCH to learn! And the Accepted don't give us any leeway it seems. You would think they would remember that they were once novices too."

 

Picking up her pace, she moved faster, not wanting to be late to class. Thank the Light this one was the last for today... She needed a moments peace, and badly!

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"It sounds as though they're feeling over-worked from their other duties. Novices usually enjoy taking classes about the One Power. Which weaves are you using? Would you like me to observe the class the next time you teach it? Perhaps if I saw their attitudes, I could give some advice."

 

Gera thought for a moment... teaching a class of novices was much different than teaching an informant or a spy. There, the person wanted to succeed to earn your respect and their pay... her the novices don't really receive anything directly from the Accepted. Being tired and overworked in other areas might well affect how they perform for her.

 

"I was teaching them both the freezing weave and the whirlpool weave. Rather dramatic weaves that should get their attention, no?"

 

As she spoke, Gera noticed two novices scurrying through the Accepted's Gallery. There was no rule against their presence here, but they weren't exactly welcomed either. It was probably the fastest path to their next class. She kept speaking, though, knowing even if they heard her they wouldn't understand the entire context.

 

"I almost asked them to dye my dress Blue..." she paused, thinking about how that could have gone wrong. "Just to show them a practical application of the weave, you see. Then I thought better of it. I'd have to explain to the stewards why my banded dress suddenly only showed five bands!" She chuckled to herself. Most likely, had she asked them to dye her dress, she'd be sent to work bleaching it clean again. "Maybe if you observe, you can give me some ideas on how to spark them back to attention."

 

OOC: I've definitely been in similar conversations. :wink: And You novices! Feel free to play out your conversation, but I wanted to give you a chance to actually overhear the comment about dying the dress. :smile:

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Coming back from the library with an armload of books Caillean thought she had never felt so tired. Her knees, elbows, and hands ached from cleaning, the heavy books weren’t helping, and she had had to stay up late into the night working on a paper for her Daes Dae'mar class. Her eyelids felt like bricks. She tried to think of a lively little tune, something fast and happy to cheer her up and get her going, but she was so tired her mind went blank.

 

Reaching the room she shared with Aliena it took all of her willpower not to just drop the books and take a quick nap. Her pillow never looked so soft. But there was no time for that. Always so busy running from one thing to another there was hardly time to think much less sleep,

 

"Wait for me!"

 

Caillean turned around, nearly running into her roommate, and smiled despite everything. A friendly face was just what she needed right now. If it wasn’t for her roommate, she would never be able to manage this. Knowing she wasn’t the only one going through it made it easier.

 

Aliena’s stack of books looked to be about as heavy as hers if not moreso and she gave her friend and roommate a sympathetic look. “You too?”

 

Aliena kept a brisk pace as they left their room and Caillean hurried to catch up. “I think it must get better. It has to. I don’t see the Aes Sedais or Accepteds running themselves ragged like they run us. But it sure does feel like forever doesn’t it.”, she said, shaking her head to clear strands of hair that were falling into her eyes. Light these books are heavy!

 

"I mean, I wanted to come and learn, but there is just SO MUCH to learn! And the Accepted don't give us any leeway it seems. You would think they would remember that they were once novices too."

 

Aliena spoke the thoughts that were in her mind too. Everyone was always criticizing her for something and even when she thought she got something right, she never received any praise. Sometimes she secretly wondered if maybe she just wasn’t good enough to make it through novicehood. Caillean rolled her eyes ruefully. I know! Earlier this morning I was chided by an accepted for being too slow, and then an hour later I got yelled at for running in the halls!" Caillean lowered her voice suddenly as they passed two accepteds having a conversation. It just wouldn't do to be overheard complaining. They would probably both end up with double chores and a tongue lashing at least.

 

They finally reached the door to the classroom. The accepted wasn't in yet and she gratefully lowered her books to her desk and rubbed her arms to get circulation back. I can't wait until the next free day Alienna. I don't even think I remember what free time is like anymore.", she quipped with a tired smile as she sat down.

Edited by poetstorm

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Leala nodded along as Gera continued to explain what she was teaching the Novices. The Aes Sedai would not have given these Novices this class if they felt that they were not ready. Then again, Novices had many different chores so that their days were filled with different duties. This was so that they new the responsibilities of an Aes Sedai and not take advantage of being in the Tower. Some girls expected to be an Aes Sedai simply for having the talent to channel before coming to the Tower. And there were also women who were wilders and called themselves Aes Sedai which was grounds for a stilling to some Sisters. Most Novices simply did not see the purpose for their work. It was all a very well-oiled clock as far as Leala was concerned, which was why she never caused any trouble and always did was she was told. Her colleagues had always thought worse of her for never being in Valeri Sedai's office, but it never made sense to her to try and make someone else's life miserable because she was bored. "The next time you have your class, I will observe, and it may help if you do not announce my presence. Or you could say that I am observing to see how this class is taught," she suggested.

 

Her eyes trailed after the Novices that scurried along through the Accepted's Gallery. Gera then said in almost a joking tone that she had almost asked them to dye her dress blue! Leala remembered the other Accepted saying that she wanted to join the Blue Ajah when she was raised. "Dye your dress the color of your intended Ajah?" she asked, stating her conclusion aloud. That seemed too bold to her. "If I asked the same thing, I would be in Novice whites with a Great Serpent ring. That would be a sight to see..." she said, thinking on that strange image.

 

The topic returned to Leala's intended observation. She nodded to what was said. "Yes, sometimes threats help, other times incentives are better. Are they being disruptive in any way or simply unwilling to practice?" she asked.

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Caillean could always make her smile. Just watching her roll her eyes made Aliena want to burst out laughing. Of course, that wouldn't do, given that they were about to rush through a room filled with Accepted! "I know! Earlier this morning I was chided by an accepted for being too slow, and then an hour later I got yelled at for running in the halls!" Aliena had to silently thank the Light that Caillean lowered her voice at that point, as two Accepted were sitting right there. Oh Light, it's Gera and Leala. Aliena had had classes for both of them, and they were both such a drag. Always worrying about what was proper, and never giving them any proper application.

 

"I almost asked them to dye my dress blue..." Aliena could just barely overhear the words from Accepted Gera's lips, although it was hard as they were rushing so quickly. She had heard that Gera was aiming to attain a Blue Shawl, but dyeing their dresses blue? She had never heard of such a thing before. As they turned the corner out of the room, Aliena saw their class room. "I can't wait until the next free day Alienna. I don't even think I remember what free time is like anymore."

 

Aliena saw that the Accepted was not in the room yet, so she dropped her books quickly, saying "Hold up!" and rushed back down the hallway to listen outside of the door again. Accepted Leala was now speaking, saying "If I asked the same thing, I would be in Novice whites with a Great Serpent ring. That would be a sight to see..." Aye, Leala was aiming for the White Ajah.

 

Rushing back to her class, Aliena put a finger to her lips at Caillean's odd look, and payed attention as the Accepted began class. As soon as it was over with, Caillean looked at her as though to speak, and Ali shook her head, silencing her. "Back to my room first!" Caillean followed quickly as they rushed to Aliena's room, and as soon as they were inside, Ali slammed the door shut, and laughed, dropping her books, and smiling. "I have the most brilliant idea on how to make the Accepted happy... We dye their dresses their intended Ajah's color!" Caillean looked at her as though she was crazy, but Ali knew that this would finally win them some praise for their hard work.

 

"They cannot know what we are doing, but I overheard them before class, saying they wanted to ask someone to do it, but hadn't. We can offer to do their laundry for them - and I need to do laundry tonight anyways - and dye their dresses! YAYYYYY!!!!" Aliena felt she would jump out of her skin. Finally, a way to prove ourselves.

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Caillean was puzzled when Aliena leapt from her seat and just outside the door. She watched and waited for her to come back in and gave her a pensive confused look. But she was met only with a gesture to be silent, which only magnified her curiosity. She was hard pressed to concentrate in class after that. Part of her mind was still trying to figure out what Aliena was thinking, because she surely had something on her mind. The minute class ended, she turned to her friend just about to ask when she silenced Caillean again.

 

"Back to my room first!"

 

The excited look in Aliena’s eyes was contagious. Forgetting how tired she was, Caillean practically vibrated excitement and curiosity. I KNOW she’s going a big idea. I can’t wait to find out! She managed to contain her curiosity until they reached the room. No sooner did Aliena close the door than Caillean burst out, ‘What is it Aliena? For Light’s sake tell me or I’ll just die of curiosity!”

 

"I have the most brilliant idea on how to make the Accepted happy... We dye their dresses their intended Ajah's color!"

 

Cailleans expression changed quickly from excited smile, to pensive and doubtful. She had never heard anything about accepteds dying their dresses before, It seemed odd to come from nowhere.

 

"They cannot know what we are doing, but I overheard them before class, saying they wanted to ask someone to do it, but hadn't. We can offer to do their laundry for them - and I need to do laundry tonight anyways - and dye their dresses! YAYYYYY!!!!"

 

That did ring a bell. She had overheard something about blue dye when they passed the two accepted earlier though she hadn’t really been trying to listen. Could it really be a tradition amongst the accepted to dye their dresses for their intended ajahs? It did seem to make a certain kind of sense. And if it were true it would be a great favor she and Aliena would be doing for them, bound to make them pleased.

 

Caillean’s eyes widened as the full impact of the idea hit her. A big smile lit up her face. “Aliena, you’re brilliant!! I heard something about that too just before. Oh they’re going to be so pleased! Let’s do it!”

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Aliena could hardly handle all of the excitement bubbled up inside of her. She and Caillean had agreed that they would wait until after their last class of the day before going to ask the Accepted for their dresses. As soon as class was out, books still in hand, they rushed to the Accepted Hall, hoping to find them. The two women were not hard to find, both bent over books, looking as exhausted as she felt. Ali was so excited, to know that she would be doing something that would both help and honor them.

 

Nervous out of her mind, Caillean and Aliena looked at each other, before Ali finally got the courage to speak up. Walking to the Accepted slowly, they both eyed her, as she then curtseyed to them, trying to show some respect. "Accepted Gera, Accepted Leala," she began, nervous and excited, not wanting to hint at what they were planning to do. "Novice Caillean and myself were wondering," Ali heard a giggle behind her and Ali smiled. They were both two bubbly and excited to contain it. "We were wondering if we could wash your dresses for you this evening."

 

Never one to leave anything simple, Ali continued on. "We were already having to do our laundry tonight, and we noticed how busy you both seem, and we wanted to help! Can we do this small task for you both?"

 

 

OOC: I am going to recommend that both of the Accepted RP at this point, giving each of the girls their dresses. Ali can go with one, and Caillean with the other. And then, Poet, you can wrap it up and begin us washing, or you can post here in your excitement at getting to wash the dresses! Lets go color job!

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After they had worked out a plan to figure out what was wrong with Gera's lackadaisical novices, Gera had gone and gathered her own texts to study. It was pleasant sitting next to someone, even if they were studying entirely different topics. For one of her private lessons, Gera had been assigned the tedious task of sifting through the lists of Amyrlins looking for patterns. The sister was one of the Blues, the Ajah Gera hoped to find herself in shortly, but the task seemed almost like something a Brown would assign. After a few hours of studying, reading, and taking notes, Gera was beginning to wish for a break.

 

Conveniently, one arrived at that moment.

 

Two novices scurried into the Accepted Gallery again, the same two from earlier, this time they seemed to be looking for someone... apparently, those someones were Gera and Leala, because the girls approached them, and curtsied properly. Then the more brazen of the two spoke in rapid fire.

"Accepted Gera, Accepted Leala. Novice Caillean and myself were wondering, we were wondering if we could wash your dresses for you this evening. We were already having to do our laundry tonight, and we noticed how busy you both seem, and we wanted to help! Can we do this small task for you both?"

 

The girls seemed rather excited about the prospect of doing more laundry... perhaps they hoped to get on Gera and Leala's good sides. Both of the Accepted were beginning to have reputations among the novices. Gera for being strict and noticing everything, and Leala for being perfectly logical, and expecting the same from her students. There were worse reputations to have. Another Accepted was known through the Novice Gallery as "Smelly Ellie." Ellie simply enjoyed the more physical aspects of life... but her time in the Tower stables and the Warders Yard definitely left their mark on her. Gera shuddered at the thought of being so universally disrespected.

 

"I don't know about Leala, but I would definitely appreciate the help, girls. My thanks." Gera smiled politely, "I'll be right back with my dresses."

 

The benefit of studying in the Gallery was that her room was just a few yards away. Hanging from a pair of pegs were her currently dirty dresses, which she neatly folded after making sure she hadn't left anything in them. Taking them back out into the Gallery, she handed them to Aliena.

 

"I will be going to a lesson with Natalia Sedai this evening, so when you are done, if you could bring them back to my room and set them on my bed, I would be most appreciative." Her crisp Cairhienin accent made her sound more harsh than she intended, so she did her best to warm her words with a smile.

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Leala had taken advantage of the general privacy of the Accepted's Galleries and had drawn her feet under her as she sat in the plush chair and read her book. She was expected, as an Accepted, to be perfectly serene, or at least try her hardest. Her personality leant itself well to the task, thankfully, but sometimes even she wish to be a bit casual. Gera continued her work as well next to her, their conversation about Leala's observations concluded. It would be interesting to see someone else's class for once. Each class had its own dynamic. She felt hers were very structured and organized. There were problems, of course, but nothing was perfect. Her studies were interrupted again when the same pair of Novices traipsed through with cheerful smiles on their faces. One girl, Aliena, asked permission to wash the pair of Accepteds' dresses to rest their minds a bit. That seemed wonderful to Leala. She had all but run out of clean dresses besides the one she wore which would not be clean for the next day. The only thing that perhaps she could not figure out was why the two Novices were so excited about this task. It was getting rather close to curfew, perhaps only an hour or two left before they were all expected back in their rooms, so why were the girls so energetic? Perhaps they want to be in a favorable position with Accepted. That made sense. And Leala was mentally exhausted as well.

 

Gera accepted the offer and left to retrieve her dresses. "Thank you," she said, allowing the girls a faint smile, something that she rarely awarded to anyone. "That's very thoughtful of you. Wait one moment," she said. She set down her book, folded open on the seat of her chair to hold her place while she went to her room. She opened herself to Saidar for just a moment to weave a thread of Fire to light her lantern. She picked her dresses from the wall where they hung and folded them twice over to make a nice bundle. Walking out of the room, she handed the dresses to Caillean. "I'm still not sure exactly what prompted this, but I am no less grateful. Thank you again, girls. I will work for perhaps twenty more minutes before I go to sleep for the night. It seems sleep comes earlier and earlier. Just return the dresses to my room on my desk; I will most likely not awake until morning." Bending slightly, she picked up her book again, placing a graceful pale finger where her place was and nodded to the Novices. "Have a good evening, then," she said before returning to her room for the last bit of work before sleep.

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[OOC: Gah so sorry for the delay! I got uber-pounced on by IRL so bad I've hardly gotten any sleep all week. Should be all caught up on my much tardy posts tonight! ^^]

 

Caillean couldn't help but stifle a giggle. She was so excited her toes were curling in her slippers. And was she ever glad Aliena had been the one to speak up. Right now Caillean was fit to burst with eagerness. We are going to make them so happy with us! She could just about burst into song, forgetting completely her prior exhaustion.

 

Taking the folded dresses carefully from Accepted Leala she curtsied respectfully.

 

"I'm still not sure exactly what prompted this, but I am no less grateful. Thank you again, girls. I will work for perhaps twenty more minutes before I go to sleep for the night. It seems sleep comes earlier and earlier. Just return the dresses to my room on my desk; I will most likely not awake until morning."

 

Caillean sure knew all about sleep coming earlier. Apparently sometimes even Accepted worked themselves nearly as hard as they worked the novices. She would have to be extra careful putting the dresses back. It would not help their cause to wake the accepteds. "Yes Accepted. I am glad to be helpful. They will be on your desk crisp and clean for the morning."

 

Once they were out of earshot of the two accepteds Caillean let loose with a big smile. "This was such a great idea Aliena. I can't wait for them to see what we've done in the morning." Eventually they dropped off their books and headed out to do their laundry and dye the dresses, or bleach them in her case. Soon she was up to her elbows in hot water, humming as happily as a little bee.

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"I don't know about Leala, but I would definitely appreciate the help, girls. My thanks. I'll be right back with my dresses." Aliena was filled with glee as Accepted Gera went to retrieve her dresses. She turned back to Caillean and gave her a huge smile before turning back politely to Accepted Leala.

 

"Thank you. That's very thoughtful of you. Wait one moment." Accepted Leala disappeared as well to go get her dresses, and Ali had to let out a little giggle. She couldn't resist how excited and relieve she was that they were not being questioned. It would ruin the surprise if the Accepted knew what they were doing.

 

When Accepted Gera returned, she handed the folded dresses to Ali. Taking them with a curtsey, the Accepted then said, "I will be going to a lesson with Natalia Sedai this evening, so when you are done, if you could bring them back to my room and set them on my bed, I would be most appreciative."

 

Curtseying again, Ali said, "Thank you, Accepted. I shall do so at once."

 

The Accepted Leala then returned and handed her dresses to Caillean. "I'm still not sure exactly what prompted this, but I am no less grateful. Thank you again, girls. I will work for perhaps twenty more minutes before I go to sleep for the night. It seems sleep comes earlier and earlier. Just return the dresses to my room on my desk; I will most likely not awake until morning. Have a good evening, then."

 

"Yes Accepted. I am glad to be helpful. They will be on your desk crisp and clean for the morning." Caillean then led the way for them to escape the gallery and head to the laundry. "This was such a great idea Aliena. I can't wait for them to see what we've done in the morning."

 

Laughing, Aliena followed Caillean back to their rooms where they dropped off their books. Grabbing her laundry and taking Accepted Gera's dresses, they then headed down to the laundry to begin their work. Starting with actually washing their dresses, Ali and Caillean chatted about how excited they were, but very shortly, they were too exhausted to even talk. Scrubbing dresses was hard work! Caillean then helped to show her how to make the dye and Ali worked on coloring Gera's dresses blue. Given that Leala was going to the White Ajah, Caillean had to bleach the banded hem.

 

It was hard work, and they worked late, but eventually, they got to starching the dresses. They were beautiful, and Ali scrubbed at her hands to get the blue dye off. Both feeling rather proud, they hurried up to the Accepted Hallway, and dropped off the dresses. Giggling, Ali and Caillean rushed back to their rooms. Ali was so excited but so exhausted, she was still laughing and smiling as she passed out, ready for the excitement in the morning.

 

 

 

OOC: Poet, just catch up to passing out as well, then the Accepted can post waking up to find their dresses, and then its back on us to go see what happens!

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That banded hem sure was stubborn. How did hey get the different colors in there anywa? But eventually even the boldest colors were bleached out of the hem. Both of their hands were wrinkly and tired from scrubbing, but there was satisfaction at a job done right. Caillean giggled a bit at Caillean's blue hands though hers smelled so strongly of bleach it just might fumigate the room. A good scrubbing amidst much laughing got their hands clean.

 

Caillean split off to drop her dresses at Leala's room being areful not to make a sound as she left them folded on the desk. Slipping back out she rejoined ALiena and headed for their rooms. She thought she was so excited she could never sleep but once her head hit the pillow her eyes began to droop. "I can't wait for the morning.", she whispered to ALiena before falling fast asleep.

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The First Bell roused Leala from her sleep as it always did. Her eyes fluttered open, her dark lashes moving her thick, curly hair as she blinked. Turning over on her back, she pushed her hair back from her face and stretched her back muscles. She hadn't gotten a very good night's sleep because she was so focused on her studies all day that she had dreams about them that night. Sitting up, she found that her neck was the stiffest part of her. Leaning her head back, she massaged her neck and rolled her head a bit, trying to get the cricks out. Taking in a deep breath, she let it out and swung her legs over the side of her bed and stood, still working her neck. As she always did, she went to her small mirror and placed her cord so that it pulled her hair from her face. She always waited until after she put on her dress to brush her hair. If she brushed it beforehand, it would tangle again after she pulled the garment over her head.

 

Dresses...

 

Ah. The two Novices, Aliena and Caillean had offered to wash her dresses for her the night before. Good, good. If they had heard me right...they should be on my bed... Turning, she found her dresses folded in a neat pile on her desk as she had requested. Smiling, she walked over to them and lifted the top one to put it on. The white blur that lifted into the air with the motion confused her for a moment. Where was the color? It was hard to miss all that color on such an otherwise starkly white dress. Wrinkling her brow in thought, she let the dress fall as she held it by the shoulders and at arm's length.

 

It was white.

 

The color drained out of her face in an imitation of the dress. Examining it, she found that the hems still had the woven seven bands...but they were all white. In fact, she could tell that bleach had been used vigorously because there was fraying, and the hems seemed to be even whiter than most of the dress. Had...had the two girls overheard her conversation with Gera? Thinking back, she had recalled seeing a flash of a girl in Novice whites pass by and talk to Gera. It had been Aliena if she had recalled. Her stomach dropped.

 

"Well, this is just wonderful..." she said with a sigh as she reluctantly donned her white dress. "I'll have to see if Gera had the same problem..."

 

After brushing her hair and freshening up, she stepped out of her room. She kept a straight face as she passed her fellow Accepted. A lot of them giggled like Novices to see her in a white dress. Her pride wasn't the important part of her visit to Gera, though. Finding the other woman's door, she knocked. "Gera, I'd like to speak with you," she called in an even voice, all the paling effects of shock and jittering in her stomach now a memory.

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When Gera had come back from her lesson with the Blue Sitter, she hadn't bothered with lighting her lamp or anything more than simply stripping out of her dress and climbing into her bed. She had completely forgotten the dress she'd given to the novices to have cleaned.

 

Her dreams that night were filled with complex weaves of Air and Water and Natalia telling her that she wasn't trying hard enough. Vile woman. The next morning, the bells sounded, and her eyes flung open. It felt like she'd just gone to sleep. Getting out of bed took effort. She wove a small bit of fire and air to create a globe of light, with a warm golden glow. It filled her room, and illuminated everything. As her eyes scanned over her room, checking every item she owned... old habits from when an assassin might poison her belongings. Suddenly she jolted.

 

Sitting, neatly folded at the foot of her bed, was a pile of deep blue fabric. It was a lovely blue... but she shouldn't own anything like that right now. Every dress she owned, or rather she was currently allowed to wear, was white with the banded hem showing she was Accepted of the White Tower. Reaching over, she grabbed the pile of fabric and it unfolded into what she recognized as the same dress she'd sent with the novices to be cleaned.

 

The whole dress was now a uniform shade of dark blue, the same color as the original blue band had been.

 

Pulling it over her head, letting it settle around her slightly plump frame, Gera sighed. She would likely get in trouble for this. Suddenly an idea occurred to her. If her dress was blue, what had happened to Leala's dress? Either the girls had pulled a prank on the older Accepted alone, or maybe the cool Accepted had been pranked too.

 

As if summoned by her thoughts, Gera heard Leala's voice outside her door. Opening the door, Gera was a bit relieved to see Leala in a pure white dress. Apparently she'd been pranked too.

 

"Please come in, Leala. We seem to have a problem." She welcomed the other Accepted into her room. "Obviously, we have to do something. Should we gather the two novices and take a trip down to the Mistress of Novices?"

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Waking up a little on the late side, Aliena stretched and tried to fall back asleep. She was exhausted and would take any penance given for being a little late. She just wanted more sleep. Classes were going to kick her rump that day and she wasn't even certain she had done all of her assignments properly. Her back ached from bending over for so long and her hands were still dry from being in so much hot water. By the Light, why were her hands so dry? She had only two dresses to wash.... And then she remembered. She had colored Accepted Gera's dress blue.

 

Jumping up from the bed excited, Ali got changed quickly into her Novice dress. How could she have forgotten about her helpful coloring the previous night. The idea of it had been what kept her going the previous day. She needed to hurry up and grab her things and go get Caillean. They could go up together to be conveniently outside of the Accepted's rooms for a little praise. It was perfect, if they looked to be on an errand, but were there at the moment that the Accepted wanted to give them praise and thanks. By far the best idea ever.

 

Grabbing her books quickly, she dashed to the door a few times, remembering in each dash another item she was leaving behind. Finally having it all together, she ran down the hallway to Caillean's door and knocked quickly. Not getting an answer, she figured Caillean was a few steps ahead of her in getting to the hallway. Heading down the hall and up stairs and around the tower, Ali made her way quickly to the Accepted Hallway. Heading down, she saw Leala's door and noticed that she had just disappeared into Gera's room. Oh Light, they are going to come bursting out in smiles! Walking slowly down the hallway with her eyes on the floor, she hopped that Caillean would join her soon so they could get praise together. Any moment from then, the Accepted would come out...

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In the morning Caillean woke up feeling sleepier than usual, wanting very much to have just a few more minutes even though it might make her late. She felt achy, her hands were like sandpaper as she rubbed her eyes, and she smelled the faint odor of bleach. Wondering why she smelled bleach, Caille sat up in bed. The events of last night finally hit her and she couldn’t help but smile as she stretched. The praise her and Ali were going to get would be worth all the aches and dry hands twice over.

Excited now she bounded out of bed and threw on her dress and gave her hair a quick run through to get it to fall into place. Caillean checked the time and gasped as she realized Aliena was probably already on her way. Grabbing the books she would need she left her room taking a route that would bring her past the accepted quarters.

 

She hurried until she reached Leala’s rooms but no one was stirring yet and she hadn’t seen Aliena. Caillean decided she couldn’t very well linger there, so she returned one of her books to the library and dashed back around. At least that was one errand out of the way, but had she missed them?

 

Just as she turned the corner she spotted Aliena just as Accepted Gera’s door opened. Perfect timing!, she thought gleefully as she caught up with Aliena matching her slow yet purposeful walk down the hall. “Morning!”, she said with a conspiratorial smile.

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The discussion with Leala had reached the only logical conclusion. What the novices had done exceeded the Accepted's power to punish them. They would have to collect the girls and take them to the Mistress of Novices, to see what she would do.

 

Gathering Leala up behind her, Gera opened her door and stepped out, almost running directly into the two novices in question. Perfect timing, she thought to herself. Before the girls could curtsy or say anything, Gera frowned. "I'm glad the two of you came to witness the results of your little prank. Now, you will follow us."

 

Turning on her heel, she gracefully stalked down the Gallery Hall, knowing that Leala was walking with her, and the two novices scurrying behind. At the door to the Mistress of Novice's office, Gera knocked and waited until she heard the answering call, then she opened the door and entered the office.

 

"Aes Sedai," she curtsied, "Yesterday, these two novices asked Leala and I if they could wash our dresses for us. They said it was to relieve us of one minor task. When our dresses were returned, they no longer showed the bands of an Accepted, as you can see." She showed her own dark blue dress with its blue hems. "Punishment for this kind of prank is outside the realm of our authority, so we bring them to you."

 

She curtsied again, and waited for the Aes Sedai to speak.

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