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Year 1

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Waking up a little early that morning, Aliena Halinor laid back down on her bed and stared at the ceiling. A whole year... how had it gone by so fast and yet still so slow? She was starting to think that she would never escape the Tower, and yet she had only been there a miniscule fraction of the time of most of the women. I thought coming here, I would have worlds opened before me. I thought coming here, I would see culture and beauty. I thought coming here, I would become a powerful Aes Sedai. I thought coming here... I guess I thought a lot of things. By the Light, I just wish I had more patience.


It was the first day of the month of Amadaine in the year 912NE. That meant that it was one year since she had arrived at the Tower steps. She had completely forgotten the days, as they all seemed to roll into each other, but when a Brown Sister had mentioned Sunday was fast approaching, she realized how long she had been there. She was another year older, which should mean another year wiser, but Ali just felt more and more like a child every day. She could still remember her first month at the tower...


She hadn't been afraid at all. How naïve of her... to be surrounded by so many women that controlled the power. To be able to channel the power herself... The first month had at least been simple. She got up every morning and went to the kitchens to serve breakfast. She spent her early afternoon scrubbing pots. And in the evening, she would read. She would just read whatever she found in the library. She read books about flowers, about various countries, about history... she had even read a book that discussed the art of making bread. Her life had been simple and she loved it.


And then her classes began. Within the first week of Tammaz, she realized how in over her head she was. Taking classes to learn to channel saidar, she was exhausted daily. Sitting in class all morning trying to hold the One Power, and then spending all afternoon reading about various weaves and their uses... she was exhausted before no time.


Two months later in Choren, she began taking Etiquette classes. So, on top of spending all morning holding Saidar and attempting basic weaves with the Accepted, she was now spending her afternoon correcting her slang, setting tables for every meal and tea, and learning how to speak to various governments, heads of states, and nobles. As if anyone of proper birth would speak to her... but Ali learned anyways. She learned how to walk with her back straight and her head raised. She learned how to speak clearly and efficiently. It was a boring class that she knew she would use forever.


Thankfully, she got a neighbor in Nesan. A girl, Mordran, was moved into the room beside her. Up until that point, the rooms to either side of her had been empty, and she loved having a new friend. Although she had been in the tower for 5 months already, they quickly bonded and spent many nights whispering. It didn't matter that Mordran was a noble from Cairhein, or that Aliena had no noble blood in her, but they bonded immediately. They even got into trouble at one point for staying too late in the library, and had to spend the next two months moving books for the Brown Sisters.


It was a long two months, between spending all morning channeling simple Air and Water weaves, spending all afternoon polishing silverware and perfecting her curtsey, and then spending all evening moving books, but Ali didn't mind. She and Mordran would just spend it talking, laughing, and working. They would quiz each other while they worked, and Ali finally had a real friend.


And then her friend lost it. Ali didn't know what Mordran had been thinking, but she decided to channel on her own. Everyone knew the warnings, that you could burn yourself out, or worse, hurt others, but Ali didn't realize that it was so possible. Mordran had discovered that she was strong in Air... even stronger than Ali in Water. Mordran was using the One Power every moment she could... lifting books to her desk, making her bed, and even cleaning her room. Ali knew that something was going on, but she was too scared to ask and didn't want to lose her new friend. And she went too far on the First week of Taisham.


The winter solstice was fast approaching, and Ali was excited, knowing that the new year would bring new blessings. At least, that was what her mother had always said. She was climing into bed, the night of the Solstice, when she heard a scream. Jumping up, she ran into the hallway and opened up the door in Mordran's room. Laying there on the floor, shaking in pain, was Mordran. She screamed for someone to get an Aes Sedai, but given that the entire room looked as though a wind storm had attacked it, Ali knew what had happened. She cried hard that night, praying her mother was right, and that the new year would bring new blessings.


If it was going to bring new blessings, the new blessings weren't in much of a hurry. Aliena began learning to channel Fire and Earth. It was a mess. She struggled to just light a candle, and pulling at the threads of Earth was a headache of a process. Adding in that for Etiquette she was to plan a luncheon for the Sisters of the Gray Ajah as her final task and that she was sentenced to scrubbing pots for four months for not confessing that Mordran had been channeling, she was beginning to feel a mental break. She didn't even find pleasure in holding the power any longer, and her fingers felt constantly raw.


Thank the Light, the luncheon for the Sisters of the Gray Ajah went flawlessly, and she was even commended on her selection of flowers for the table. It was a small boost in Ali's confidence, and with the addition of her Fire skills becoming strong enough to light a candle on the first try, she was feeling like she was beginning to bloom like she was sure the world outside was with spring.


With the month of Adar arriving, she was released from the kitchens and was again given the task of serving breakfast each day. It was a simple task that hurt only her feet, but she could push through it. With Etiquette being at a close and Introduction to Saidar closing as well, she began to prepare herself, knowing that it would only get harder. She had been told that with the start of Saven, she would begin taking Dance, and two months later, begin learning the Old Tongue.


Dance was simple enough. At the current moment, they were just learning to keep a rhythm with the moment, but she knew that soon enough they would be learning the official dances of each country and some of the unofficial ones as well. An Aes Sedai had to know everything apparently.


But, she could do it. She was strong. She had lasted 16 years under her monther's thumb, and a year of running around at the Aes Sedai' bidding. She would become an Aes Sedai, somehow. And she wasn't giving up until she had the ring and the shawl.

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