Jump to content

DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
Sign in to follow this  
Christine

Oh Light, Please Don't Remember Me!

Recommended Posts

Yet another pile of books, yet another stubbed finger, and yet another spilled inkpot... The day just seemed to be never ending, and Aliana was just tired of it all. Here she was, after 4 years, and feeling even less confident than she had her first day! What had happened to her pride? Self confidence? Her self assurance? She was going to come here, and learn, and study, and become one of the beautiful Aes Sedia. Instead, she had just become another pot scrubbing, laundry washing, book buried Novice, and she was no closer to the shawl. Everyone was constantly pushing and pulling. She could never help anyone, or make anyone happy, or even meet the smallest of standards. She understood that they were supposed to be pushed, but this was becoming absurd. She was going to break if she kept this up!

 

Ali rushed from her classroom, keeping her head down and feet swift as she moved about the tower. As she made her way down the hallways and stairs, she tuned out of functioning, just working towards her purpose of arriving in her room. She didn't need anyone to see the large ink stain on the front of her otherwise pristine white dress. She worked so hard to make herself look perfect, but one stupid Novice that decided to freak out and bump into Ali had ruined it's perfection. She would have to scrub and scrub all night until there was proof the ink would not come out, and then she would have to go to the Laundress and beg for her to remove it. Ali was tempted to try and remove it herself with the power... but she had made it this far without channeling on her own, and she would keep it that way.

 

Getting to her room, she removed both shift and dress, sighing at the large stains. They would have to wait until later. She had to hurry up and head to the library, and hope to get some studying done. Every day was another test, and she wondered how she could get so much done in one day, and still feel as though she had done absolutely nothing! A new shift and dress on, with just a book, Geography, and numerous papers in hand, she headed to the library in hopes of some peace and quiet. There was none to be had on the Novice hallway. A girl had failed her Arches, and was screaming and crying her head off. That alone was enough to make Ali study harder.

 

Arriving in the library, she looked for a small chair off to the side, hoping to avoid the attention of any Brown sisters. They were lovely to talk to, and she had learned so much from them, but at times, their knowledge truly was never ceasing, and Ali needed a break. If they saw her book... Ali just couldn't take any more. She needed peace and quiet to read, and that was it.

 

Finding a chair near a desk, she sat down, and began to read. Glancing through her notes, she came across one piece of parchment that had a beautiful Ivy vine drawn around the edge. She smiled to herself, then sighed, knowing that whatever she had missed while drawing that vine, would be on the test. It always was. She glanced over her notes quickly, and then flipped to the pages in her book that were lesser worn than the rest. She would spend the whole night rereading this book if she had to.

Of course

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Strands of a large white feather waved in the air as an ink-stained hand wrote feverishly. Leala had wanted to sit down and chronicle her progress in the One Power. Her suspicions that she had reached when she had first taken a class in the uses of Saidar seemed to be proving themselves right. She had an affinity to Water, and Air as well, but Air did not come as easily as Water. Her strength in Fire seemed to be on par with her strength in Air and Spirit, which while it wasn't astounding, it was still unusual for women to handle the element of Fire as well as she did. Earth was her weakest element. Of course, she had improved her strength and could tell that she had a good bit more room to improve, but Earth still came slower than the others. At this point, she could weave all five elements with more ease, and felt the testing for the shawl coming closer and closer. At the same time, she knew that it would be up to Valeri Sedai to decide when to call upon her. And she knew that "closer and closer" meant a few years, if anything. She wrote a period at the end of her last sentence with a stronger force than she thought she had used. The tip of the feather had nearly split. And the small dot had spread through the fibers of the paper onto the next page of the otherwise blank book. She wiped the tip of the pen on a wet cloth to clean it. She lifted her hands to pull her hair back, but stopped when she saw their state. There were smudges of ink on every finger tip and even some on her palms. It was a wonder that she hadn't got any on her dress and hoped to the Light that none had found its way to her face. Taking the cloth, she scrubbed her hands until the ink was nearly gone. Reaching over, she took the top of the ink well and replaced it. Tentatively, she felt the last page that she had recorded her notes and found it dry. Good. She closed the journal and stood.

 

Standing, she knew that she couldn't leave with the cloth filled with water and ink, so she took the cloth with her and notified one of the Browns that the supplies were hers, but that she would be back soon to reclaim them. Sometimes the Browns were so preoccupied with their knowledge that they would mistake her journal for something to be shelved if she didn't let them know that it had an owner. She walked to a small exit and weaved the simple Water weaves to wring out the cloth into the ground. It had perhaps one or two stains on it, but she had used this cloth for one purpose, so she didn't worry over it. Walking back into her sanctuary, she gathered her supplies that had remained undisturbed and wrapped the ink well into the cloth and placed the two in her pouch. Taking the journal, she moved toward the main door, but stopped when she noticed a Novice.

 

Aliena had been a girl that she had escorted to her room when she reached the Tower, and the girl had even pulled a prank on her one day. Truth be told, Leala was convinced that she had done so in the intention to make her and another Accepted happy, with a present, almost, but discipline had to be exacted. She seemed to be engrossed in a book. Looking at the tome closer, she saw maps and recognized it as a geography book that she had once used. She seemed troubled, so Leala thought it wise to help her in her studies to show that no hard feelings were meant in the prank. "Aliena," she said as she walked up to her. "It's good to see you. How have you been? Do you need some help with your studies?" she offered, wondering what she would say.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Staring at a Map of Cairhein, Aliena felt her eyes start to get heavy. Snapping them open again, she glared at the page, making herself take in every detail. She trailed the lines of borders with her fingers, and ready every little bit of fine print, attempting to set the image as a permanent print into her mind. "Aliena, it's good to see you. How have you been? Do you need some help with your studies?" Aliena almost jumped out of her skin, so engrossed was she in her book, then looked up to see Accepted Leala standing there. Ali was horrified and wanted to sink down into her dress and disappear. Oh Light, she was going to be yelled at! Wait, had the Accepted offered her help?

 

Realizing it had been quite a few moments since Leala had spoken, Aliena jumped to her feet and curtsied. She didn't need to get back into trouble. The last time she had seen Leala, her beautiful white Accepted hem was colored white again, and the rest of the dress was splotchy around the hems because the dye she had used on the band was not as pristine. She truly hadn't meant to ruin the dress, but... it was all a misunderstanding, but what did that matter to an Accepted and the Mistress of Novices? At least it wasn't Gera... Poor Accepted Gera's dress was blue, and that would have stuck out horribly.

 

Realizing she still hadn't even spoken, Aliena stammered out, "Accepted! Accepted Leala, I mean. Uh, no, no," what had she asked again? Class help? A quick glance at her book, and Ali knew that any help she could get would be welcome. "Well, yes, I mean. Accepted. I have been well, by the Grace of the Creator, and I have kept on top of my studies..." That certainly felt like a lie, "and as for this class." The Accepted gave her the Aes Sedai look, and Ali sunk back into her chair and burried her face in her hands.

 

"Accepted," she whispered out, "how in the Light can they expect us to know all of this? All I know is EXAM and even then, on an entire book?"

Edited by Christine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Leala let the excitable Novice get her ramblings out before answering anything. The last time they had really interacted, Leala and Gera were dragging her to the Mistress of Novices. Leala's dress was nearly in a state where no one could recognize it as an Accepted's dress, and Gera's dress was dyed blue. It seemed that Aliena had heard it was customary to dye an Accepted's dress the color of their intended Ajah. The girl really hadn't meant any harm. And now it seemed she was almost afraid of her. Being jumpy at the sight of an Accepted would not be acceptable to be raised to the next level, however. Leala would have to work on behalf of the Tower and show this girl that she would have to act calmly no matter who was with her. If by the end of this meeting, she'd know she would have accomplished this somewhat if they girl left without shaking. Taking a seat by the Novice, she pulled the book closer to her so she could examine the map. Responding to Aliena's question, Leala said, "Don't let the word 'exam' scare you, Aliena. We've all had to learn this some time or another. I've taught girls who were illiterate and couldn't even read numbers. And they've had to learn this as well." A map of Cairhien stared at her from the pages. She knew that the other girl was from Andor as she was, but not from Caemlyn, of course. It was no wonder she was having a hard time with this map. She was probably avoiding it.

 

"A good strategy is to connect certain words with the names of cities and locations," she explained. "Take a name of a city and think of another word that sounds like it." She scanned the map until she found Aringill, close to the Andoran and Cairhienin border. "For example, you can take Aringill. It could sound like 'air in the gills'. Just picture a fish out of water, with air in its gills." She paused, seeing the almost astonished look on the girl's face. "It's an odd image, I'm sure, but it's not one you're likely to forget, right?" she asked. She had found many different teaching methods from the classes she taught over her years as an Accepted. This one was one that her students flocked to the most. They had fun thinking of funny words and images to place in their minds over cities.

 

"I know it seems like a lot to remember, Aliena, but when you are raised to the shawl, you will travel and work for the Tower. If you know where you are going and what is in store for you in this new place, you will be sure to excel and be a treasure to your Sisters. Everything you learn from Novicehood and even as an Accepted will help you in your life in the White Tower."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aliena was so ashamed. Of all the times to feel her weakest and most broken, did it have to be in front of an Accepted that probably hated her? She truly wouldn't blame the woman for it, but still... Leala sat down beside her, and began glancing at her notes. "Don't let the word 'exam' scare you, Aliena. We've all had to learn this some time or another. I've taught girls who were illiterate and couldn't even read numbers. And they've had to learn this as well." Aliena nodded, trying to not think about all of the things she still had to learn. She had never even heard of Cairhein before coming to the tower - it was impossible to learn everything about it when she barely even had a base.

 

"A good strategy is to connect certain words with the names of cities and locations. Take a name of a city and think of another word that sounds like it." Leala was looking at a few pages, and Ali looked over her shoulder and saw her pointing at Aringill. "For example, you can take Aringill. It could sound like 'air in the gills'. Just picture a fish out of water, with air in its gills." Really? How was that supposed to help her remember that Aringill was near the border? "It's an odd image, I'm sure, but it's not one you're likely to forget, right?" Aliena thought about it for a moment, and instead of looking at the name in the book, she began to just see the image. It made her smile, and she began to glance at other places, trying to think up more names. She could easily remember a picture... it was the words she had struggled with! Until now....

 

"I know it seems like a lot to remember, Aliena, but when you are raised to the shawl, you will travel and work for the Tower. If you know where you are going and what is in store for you in this new place, you will be sure to excel and be a treasure to your Sisters. Everything you learn from Novicehood and even as an Accepted will help you in your life in the White Tower." Aliena nodded, although she couldn't help but think she never wanted to leave the tower. This place was the center of the world, it seemed, and had everything she wanted. There was culture, and beautiful dresses, nature, and books, all around her. Why would she ever leave the Tower? But, Leala was right. It did seem that everything she had learned so far was serving some sort of a purpose.

 

Pointing at the River Alguenya which had the city of Cairhein to the East, she said, "Algie." Leala looked at her for a moment before smiling, and Ali returned the smile. "All I have to remember is Algie, and it will remind me that Alguenya is the River." Well that was simple enough. After a few more minutes, she found enough new words that she already felt ten times more confident about the test. At this rate, she would have the afternoon free! As if she could actually do what she wanted to.

 

They both spent the next hour or two, flipping through other maps, and while she knew that she was keeping Leala, Ali was grateful for the help. The maps now looked more like pictures than sketches with words all across them, and she found it easier and easier to remember things. In no time at all, she was confident that the Exam would be easy as ever.

 

Committing the last few places to memory, Ali decided to take a stab at actually getting to do what she wanted. "Accepted Leala, is there any way I can leave the Tower. I don't mean as in leave the Tower and leave Tar Valon, but is there any way we can go outside? I have never had any sort of a chance to explore, and given that I never have any free time at all, I have never asked if there isn't at least a garden, or somewhere that I can sit out in nature. I miss it dearly.

Edited by Christine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After an hour or so, Leala and Aliena both felt that she had a much better handle on her geography studies. Sitting up, Leala stretched her back and lifted her head, moving her neck muscles as well. Standing again, she took her book and was about to leave when the Novice spoke up again. "Accepted Leala, is there any way I can leave the Tower. I don't mean as in leave the Tower and leave Tar Valon, but is there any way we can go outside? I have never had any sort of a chance to explore, and given that I never have any free time at all, I have never asked if there isn't at least a garden, or somewhere that I can sit out in nature. I miss it dearly." Leala nodded, understanding this feeling. Novices rarely had time to themselves, and when they did, they usually used it to study, as this girl had done. A spot of fresh air was always welcome, she felt. It was good to commune with nature, even though the gardens were manicured nature, so to speak. She motioned for the Novice to stand as she responded.

 

"Yes, there are Gardens at the White Tower. The Yellows use them for herb gardens, and there are rose gardens maintained by gardeners and Aes Sedai. Many girls find peace there. If you'll just follow me..." Leala left the Library with the Novice in tow. They walked in general silence, curtsying to the occasional Aes Sedai, but going at a steady pace instead of he scurrying pace of most Novices. Finding their way outside, they passed the Warders' Yard, hearing the whacking sounds of practice blades. They did not enter the Yards, but she noticed a few girls hanging around, ogling the Warders and trainees while there were no Aes Sedai in the Yards. She gently reprimanded them and they dispersed, grateful not to be sent to the Mistress of Novices, but ashamed nonetheless that they had been caught.

 

Finally, they rounded a corner, and they were faced with the beautiful gardens of the White Tower. Cascades of flowers of every color shown like stars of colors that the ones in the heavens could never hope to attain. The smells all varied from flower to flower and herb to herb, but with the mixture of fertile soil and the harmony of the Creator's nature, the smells were not overwhelming or disorienting. Turning to her Novice companion, she decided to question her about her upbringing. "I know that you are from Andor, Aliena, but from where in Andor?" she asked. She wondered if she lived in the lands of the Gymorraine House. that would have been an interesting weave of the Wheel. "I am from Caemlyn, myself, raised in the Court." Although she had been born a noble, that had no precedence in the Tower. She was an Accepted, just like all the others in her station.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ali watched as Leala nodded and rose, and did the same. Was this a sign that they were leaving this stuffy old library and getting out of the tower for a change? "Yes, there are Gardens at the White Tower. The Yellows use them for herb gardens, and there are rose gardens maintained by gardeners and Aes Sedai. Many girls find peace there. If you'll just follow me..." Aliana jumped up, too excited to speak, and followed her quickly and quietly. They kept a good pace, but Ali could actually feel her feet for once. Instead of the normal rushing about, she was actually noticing who she walked by, and getting to see the tower without a million thoughts running through her mind.

 

Reaching outside, Ali could see a large field with men of all shapes and sizes training. Her face felt on fire all of a sudden, and she didn't even notice that they were outside. There were men, everywhere! She had never seen so many men in one place, and most of them not even wearing shirts! It was so improper! And what were all of these novices doing out here? She recognized most of them, as they watched the men. They should be ashamed! They had subjects to study, and chores to complete! No wonder it took some girls 10 years to get just to Accepted! This was why she would become an Aes Sedai before she reached the age of 40.

 

Leala reprimanded the girls out there, and Ali stood beside her, nodding. Leala was completely right. These girls were an embarrassment to the Tower. The girls all scampered off, and Ali followed the Accepted through the garden, and gave one last glance at the Yard. She would come back to look again... but that would be quite a while. Looking forwards again, Ali had to stop and stare. It was beautiful. The lovely fragrances that greeted her nose when she was near a window surely came from this location, and she just wanted to lay in the grass and be surrounded by the beauty for hours. If anything was going to keep her from her studies, it was this.

 

Accepted Leala continued walking while Ali took it all in, and the Accepted began to speak again while they found somewhere to sit. There were benches all about, and blankets on them to spread out in the grass. She could see one particular tree that looked like it had held many girls leaning against it while they studied, and Ali knew that was her new seat. "I know that you are from Andor, Aliena, but from where in Andor? I am from Caemlyn, myself, raised in the Court."

 

Ali sank down against the tree and rested her book beside her, her eyes closing as her body relaxed. This? This was the life. This was why she would never leave Tar Valon and the Tower. Everything she needed, the books and the natural beauty, was all that she needed. "Well, Accepted Leala, I am actually from Carysford, and had never left the town until just before I came to Tar Valon." It was a small town, only a two days wagon ride from Caemlyn on the Caemlyn Road and on the River Cary, about halfway between there and Four Kings. "Wait, did you say you were raised at Court? Are you a princess?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When Carysford was mentioned as Aliena's hometown, Leala thought about whether or not she had been there. She had passed through it once on her way to Ghealdan once, but she didn't remember much about it. No wonder the girl had wanted some fresh air. She had never left home, and now that she had traveled a bit to Tar Valon, she was still not allowed to leave. It was enough to make anyone crazy with boredom and restlessness. She was glad that she was able to help the girl find some peace of mind and help her in her studies as well. And thinking back on it, Leala was sure she had spent too much time in the Library. This was a nice change. Another small sanctuary where she could breathe in fresh air and smile at what the Creator had made. The Library was certainly still her favorite place to spend free time, but a change was still welcome after a while. Being so routine certainly could not be healthy.

 

Leala blinked when Aliena asked if she were a princess. She smiled and shook her head. Her life would have been much, much different if she were a princess. She couldn't even imagine. "No, no. Thank the Light I am not a princess," she said. She almost laughed at the idea. She couldn't imagine being an Aes Sedai and next in line to be the Queen. Her mind would be swimming with so many chaotic and worried thoughts. She wouldn't be the same person. And she would certainly hold a great amount of clout over her brother. But the mere idea of both of them at the White Tower was enough to send a sour feeling to her stomach. "I am a child of House Gymorraine. I wasn't even the first born, and my elder brother made it quite clear that he wanted to make my life miserable. And when I was tested, even though I was too young to enter the Tower just yet, I still knew that an opportunity had been presented to me that I could not refuse."

 

The Accepted knew that she had been in charge of the conversation for a while, and sat silently waiting for Aliena to take her turn to ask a question. She sat on the bench with the Novice, her journal in her lap and her hands resting on the simple book. It really was nice to observe the delicate details of what was around her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aliena couldn't believe that an Accepted of the Tower was someone of Noble blood. It was hard to imagine that they would lower themselves to scrubbing pots and cleaning laundry. "No, no. Thank the Light I am not a princess. I am a child of House Gymorraine. I wasn't even the first born, and my elder brother made it quite clear that he wanted to make my life miserable. And when I was tested, even though I was too young to enter the Tower just yet, I still knew that an opportunity had been presented to me that I could not refuse." A lady of one of the Houses of Andor. Light, she didn't know which was better, to be a Lady or to be an Aes Sedai.

 

Leala then sat down on the bench beside Aliena, for for a few moments, they sat there in peace. All was quiet and calm in the garden, and although there was the distant faint sound of swords clashing, for the most part, all she could hear was the wind. It was exactly what Ali needed to really feel rejuvenated. She looked around at all of the different herbs and flowers throughout the garden, and she had the sudden urge to draw. Pulling one of her pieces of parchment that had notes sprawled across it, she flipped the paper over, and pull a piece of charcoal from her small purse. She always carried it with her in case she found something she wanted to sketch, but she rarely had the time, except when bored in class. Studying a small patch of beautiful pansies beside her, she began to sketch. Granted, she didn't have any colors, but within a few moments, it was apparent to anyone what she had drawn.

 

Smiling to herself, Ali showed it to Leala. "I wish I could stay here all day," she said quietly. "I would spend forever just drawing and studying the flowers. Do you think this makes me a Yellow Sister? I have no apt for healing weaves at all, it seems..." Ali sighed, not feeling like she had found any home yet. All of the Novices seemed so sure of themselves and had already identified with at least an Ajah, if not two or three.

 

Ali felt so behind. She loved the library, but got tired of all the studying. She loved flowers and herbs, but was no good at healing. She loved to study ancient battles, but she grew bored with learning about different types of swords, and wanted to please everyone too much to really pick a side, and didn't care enough to defend a side. She felt to have something of every Ajah, but not enough to really belong to any Ajah.

 

"Accepted Leala, if you could go back, what would you tell your Novice self? Did you just know you were destined for the White Ajah, or how did you choose?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shuffling of papers attracted Leala's attention. Looking over to Aliena, she noticed that the Novice was showing her a sketch of some pansies next to her. She smiled at the detail she had put into the sketch already. "That is quite good. I'm glad that you seem to like the Gardens," she said. She thought, as she sat in peace with her younger companion, that she could understand what drew the Yellows to Healing and herbs. There was something to be said about saving another's life. And the peace of nature had to heal the mind as well as the body to some extent. The Novice's words brought her out of her thoughts again. "I would spend forever just drawing and studying the flowers. Do you think this makes me a Yellow Sister? I have no apt for healing weaves at all, it seems..." The Accepted thought on this for a while before answering. As she thought, the Novice posed another question. "Accepted Leala, if you could go back, what would you tell your Novice self? Did you just know you were destined for the White Ajah, or how did you choose?"

 

"If could very well mean that. Or it could mean that you would be a good Brown as well. Browns are good at taking notes and sketches of things that they want to study and add to the Library. But don't worry too much about your apts for Healing weaves. You are still a Novice. The time will come when you will learn the things you will need to know. That's why it takes so many years before you are called for your next testing. Just trust that you are where you need to be. And you will find your path when the time comes." She was sure that the poor girl had heard this speech before, but it was the most logical thing she could think of. "Being a Novice means that you can test all your talents and pace yourself. You can let yourself be guided still. And when you are an Accepted, you can explore your limitations a bit more in detail. The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills." She knew completely that she had heard that adage before. Who hadn't? "There is something in the Pattern for you. You will find it in time."

 

As for the other question, she thought, relating to herself. "I would tell myself not to be so sure of myself. Too many times had I thought I was already a master of Daes Dae'mar. And too many times I had thought that I already exhibited the Aes Sedai calm, that I was ready to take the next step too soon. I've been learning so many things about the Tower, the world, the Great Game, and my own weaknesses." Pausing, she addressed Aliena again. "Don't be so quick to try and choose one Ajah at this stage. You will have enough time to develop your skills."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Accepted Leala seemed to settle back as she thought about the questions. Aliena sighed, and began sketching a simple ivy around the flower she had already drawn. The ivy she had drawn a thousand times, given that she could normally see it just outside of the window, and as she closed her eyes, she could still see the beautiful flower and the ivy around it. "If could very well mean that. Or it could mean that you would be a good Brown as well. Browns are good at taking notes and sketches of things that they want to study and add to the Library. But don't worry too much about your apts for Healing weaves. You are still a Novice. The time will come when you will learn the things you will need to know. That's why it takes so many years before you are called for your next testing. Just trust that you are where you need to be. And you will find your path when the time comes."

 

Aliena nodded. She had heard the speech a thousand times before. It seemed as if you spoke to anyone, they had to tell you the same thing. But this seemed more heartfelt. Like it was true. Leala wasn't acting like a miniature Aes Sedai that had it all figured out. She was speaking from experience. "Being a Novice means that you can test all your talents and pace yourself. You can let yourself be guided still. And when you are an Accepted, you can explore your limitations a bit more in detail. The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills."

 

Just then, the sun began to tingle on Aliena's skin as a passing cloud was no longer blocking the direct light. She smiled to herself, and responded. "Aye. The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills." It was hard to accept that fact, but the longer she was in the tower, the more at peace she came with the turning and patterns of the Wheel. "There is something in the Pattern for you. You will find it in time." Ali and Leala shared a smile for a brief moment, as though they were not Novice and Accepted, Commoner and Noble, Undecided and White Aspirant. It was a calming peace, and Ali broke the smile to tilt her head back, eyes closed, and to take in the sunlight.

 

"I would tell myself not to be so sure of myself. Too many times had I thought I was already a master of Daes Dae'mar. And too many times I had thought that I already exhibited the Aes Sedai calm, that I was ready to take the next step too soon. I've been learning so many things about the Tower, the world, the Great Game, and my own weaknesses." Aliena couldn't help but to laugh to herself. Not to be too sure of herself. Light, if that was only her problem! "Don't be so quick to try and choose one Ajah at this stage. You will have enough time to develop your skills."

 

Aliena sighed, and returned the sketch she had been working on into her book. "Accepted Leala... May I be honest?" Leala nodded, so Ali closed her eyes and relaxed back against the tree before continuing. "To put it bluntly... I am not sure of myself at all. Not even in the slightest. Every move I make, every step I take, I calculate, analyze, and step back to make certain I am going in the right direction. Even when I do exactly as told, everything seems like... well, it seems like a failure. How am I to become an Aes Sedai when, after four years already, I am still as much of a basket case as ever."

 

Ali stood up from her sitting place and, leaving her book on the ground, walked to a nearby rose push. She stroked one of the buds that had recently bloomed, then turned back to the Accepted. "I should be moving forwards, not backwards. My weaves should be growing stronger, and my knowledge expanding, and my confidence..." That was worst of all. She had none of it. "I know that most are not raised at only four years, but I see girls that have been here half the time I have, or less, and they seem far closer to the shawl than I will ever be. I am study hard, do all of my chores... I just see no progress. I just don't know if I am truly meant to be an Aes Sedai."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When the Novice asked if she could be honest, Leala let her speak. If she had been an Aes Sedai, this conversation would not call for such openness, but seeing as Leala was only an Accepted and Aliena was seeking advice rather than askin probing questions simply out of curiosity, she didn't mind. The girl then made her case. "To put it bluntly... I am not sure of myself at all. Not even in the slightest. Every move I make, every step I take, I calculate, analyze, and step back to make certain I am going in the right direction. Even when I do exactly as told, everything seems like... well, it seems like a failure. How am I to become an Aes Sedai when, after four years already, I am still as much of a basket case as ever." At first, Leala was not sure how to respond. It seemed like a case for the Mistress of Novices, to be sure. But Leala thought that at least she could give some encouraging words.

 

"Most girls at your stage have too much confidence. They think they know exactly what will happen a step before the Aes Sedai, and that they know better than the Tower. These girls tend to burn themselves out..." she said, starting her list off with the most extreme example, using so much of the One Power that they lost the feel of it all together. "They also overstep boundaries and are punished, sometimes even kicked out of the Tower..." she continued. "Or they find that they actually do not know better than their superiors and don't trust their own reasoning and judgement, opting to leave the Tower themselves." She paused, finally getting to the point she was trying to make. "What I am trying to say is that the fact that you step back and examine what you are about to do before doing it shows that you recognize that you have limitations. You have humility, something that many of the other Novices I have dealt with do not have. You recognize that you have something that most people do not have: the Power to touch the True Source, the force that turns the Wheel that weaves your destiny. And that is a great responsibility. But at the same time, you must trust your teachers and know that you are making progress. If you truly had not made any progress, Valeri Sedai would have brought the matter to your attention. You will find your stride, Aliena. But it will take time. Time that you still have."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While Accepted Leala pondered her words, Aliena bent back down to the rosebud. The petals were just barely bursting, and to her, it was the most beautiful form of the rose: just as the sunlight was being to touch it for the first time. She took a breath of the beautiful fragrance and savored it for a moment, before rising and listening to Leala's words. "Most girls at your stage have too much confidence. They think they know exactly what will happen a step before the Aes Sedai, and that they know better than the Tower. These girls tend to burn themselves out..." The thing that Ali feared most. Burning herself out. When she held the One Power in class, everything SMELLED better. Her sketches looked the be the REAL thing. Her head wasn't swimming with worry, and her aching bones felt revived.

 

"They also overstep boundaries and are punished, sometimes even kicked out of the Tower... Or they find that they actually do not know better than their superiors and don't trust their own reasoning and judgement, opting to leave the Tower themselves." Ali had seen a few girls leaving. They had the opportunity to be in the greatest city in the world, with the most beautiful library and by far the most beautiful garden, and they had opted to leave? What could possibly be better out there than Tar Valon and the White Tower?

 

"What I am trying to say is that the fact that you step back and examine what you are about to do before doing it shows that you recognize that you have limitations. You have humility, something that many of the other Novices I have dealt with do not have. You recognize that you have something that most people do not have: the Power to touch the True Source, the force that turns the Wheel that weaves your destiny. And that is a great responsibility. But at the same time, you must trust your teachers and know that you are making progress. If you truly had not made any progress, Valeri Sedai would have brought the matter to your attention. You will find your stride, Aliena. But it will take time. Time that you still have."

 

Time... Accepted Leala was right. If there was anything she did have, it was time. Not immediate time, as she was always rushing to keep up, but... Ali could wait another 10 years just to spend a lifetime of holding the power. And Valeri Sedai had yet to call on her, except to give her another chore or to dole out punishment. She had heard of other girls being called to her office and either dismissed or warned, and Ali had made it four years without being called for that. Time... was on her side. "I will think upon what you have said, Accepted Leala. Thank you, for your insight."

 

Going back and sitting against the tree, she went to pull another piece of parchment from her book to draw the rose, before she noticed the book in Leala's hands. She had been carrying it since they had left the Library. She held it far tighter than any book... What was it? "Accepted Leala? The book in your hands? What is it?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...