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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Arrival At Tar Valon, Meeting the MON


charisdelphi
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Charis had nearly fallen off her horse when Dragonmount had come into view, the mountain was so big, it nearly filled up the sky. Hearing about the mountain was not the same as seeing it in person. The city of Tar Valon itself was a sight as well, the White Tower soaring into the sky, shinning in the afternoon sun. Her destination, she knew, and smiled. She felt, in a very real sense, that she was coming home, as if she already belonged there. As if the place she had left, the inn in Camelyn, were but a distant dream, not the only life she had know. She gazed at the tower the whole ride to the city, the mountain forgotten.

 

Entering the city brought new wonders, the bridges themselves were works of arts, and the buildings! They were more sculptures than places were people lived and worked. Ogier built, she knew, but again seeing was more, so much more, than knowing. The crowds were considerable, but they parted ways for their little group, the Aes Sedai who had brought them here, with her ageless face and her shawl, made traversing the city much easier then it would have been had they been alone. For this Charis was grateful, she had seen crowds in Camelyn, but nothing like these. She felt a flutter in her stomach as they rode through the city, the wonder of the buildings and the Tower itself fading as she remembered what the Aes Sedai had told her awaited them. Long years of work and study, of obedience. Charis was not afraid of hard work, but she remembered how stern the otherwise kind Aes Sedai had become when she spoke of novice life. She took a deep steadying breath as they rode into the tower.

 

The other girls in the group were also silent, eyes wide taking in the sights, or perhaps lost in their own fears, Charis couldn't say. They followed the Aes Sedai meekly, quickly becoming lost in the turnings and vast hallways. She lead them into a smaller room, with several chairs around the walls, and tapestries on the wall, tuning to face them.

“This is the Mistress of Novice's office.” She announced quietly. “You will wait here, “ She indicated the chairs with a wave of her hand. “She will meet with you one by one. Good luck, and remember, work hard.” She smiled one last time, and then swept majestically from the room.

Charis stood, hoping that wasn't disobedience, wanting to stretch her legs from the long journey, longer than any she had previously undertaken. She didn't have to wait long before the inner door opened and a woman she assumed to be the Mistress of Novices stepped out.

“Charis Delphi.” She said, looking directly at her. Charis assumed the Aes Sedai had already sent word of their arrival, but it was still somewhat disturbing that the Mistress of Novices was so well informed. Suppressing a gulp of fear, Charis nodded, curtsied as the Aes Sedai had instructed her, and followed her into the other room.

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Valeri heard the telltale quiet chattering of girls and the sterner voice of an Aes Sedai through her closed study door. The messenger had arrived with a list of names and descriptions some half hour gone, and now the group had arrived. Valeri poured a fresh cup of tea for herself and set another on the desk across from her own chair when the next potential Novice would be seated. The blue Seafolk Porcelain clinking slightly as she placed the cup on it's matching saucer. She waited a few more moments to allow the chattering girls to calm themselves after the long journey, then glancing at the list of names she pulled open the heavy timber door and looked over the girls for the first time. She saw the auburn haired lass and said "Charis Delphi."

 

The child appeared startled but stood and curtsied. She nodded in response and Valeri beckoned her into the study. "You may sit child." Valeri said indicating the chair. She made her way back to her own chair before the large ornate desk and sat. She lifted her teacup and sipped the smooth Saldaean blend that always reminded her of her childhood.

 

The child's eyes were flicking about the study, taking in everything they saw. They settled on the steaming teacup placed before her. Valeri smiled "That tea is for you lass. Perhaps you could tell me about yourself and how you have come to be at the White Tower."

 

Valeri Kinaea

Mistress of Traditional Novices

Edited by Amadine
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Charis followed the Aes Sedai, and sat as instructed, looking around her, trying to hide the wonder she felt. She looked at the two tea cups, Seafolk porcelain she knew was quiet costly and although she had handled it before, she was afraid to touch it now.

 

"That tea is for you lass. Perhaps you could tell me about yourself and how you have come to be at the White Tower." The Aes Sedai said, smiling serenely. Charis dutifully took a sip, murmuring her thanks and enjoying the tea.

 

"My name is Charis." She began, smiling shyly at the Aes Sedai, before realizing the other woman already knew her name. She paused a moment, not sure how to begin. "I'm from Camelyn, my father owned an inn there, The Wagon Wheel. The Aes Sedai stopped there and I asked to be tested." She blushed, remembering that day. Her brothers had teased her and teased her until she had finally gone up to the serene woman at her table. She had blushed then too, and stammered over her words. But now she was a a little more confident. "I traveled here with the others to become a novice, Aes Sedai." She added the title respectfully. She took another sip of her tea. The other woman observed her a moment, and she wondered if she should say more. "I would very much like to learn about the power." She said in a rush, hoping she didn't sound a fool. "I like learning things, my brothers always tease me for reading so much. One of my brothers is here in the tower, training to be a Warder. His name is Bered. " She stopped then, blushing furiously, and cursing herself internally. Her eyes dropped to her teacup, her mouth suddenly dry. She hadn't meant to babble on like a child, and hoped the Aes Sedai didn't think she had lost her wits. She sipped her tea, proud that her hands didn't shake, and then forced herself to meet the Aes Sedai's eyes. This time she waited for the other woman to speak.

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Valeri nodded as the child spoke about her testing and the journey from Caemlyn to Tar Valon. And a brother already training with the Warders, interesting.

 

The child were nervous, she held herself well though Valeri knew the signs intimately as a vestige of meeting so many young women. Another may have missed the slight widening of Charis eyes, the twitch of her hands on the teacup as she consciously willed herself to remain calm. The child would do well.

 

"You have been instructed of the rules in the White Tower, yes?" Valeri asked. The lass nodded and Valeri continued, "Once you are shown how to embrace Saidar you must never, ever do so unless supervised by an Accepted or an Aes Sedai. There are harsh penalties for infractions against this rule. The reason being that with out supervision you may injure yourself or others. You can have the ability to channel burned from you, or even die from mishandling Saidar."

 

Valeri did not enjoy frightening her newest charges, but it was important that they have a healthy respect for Saidar and it's dangers.

 

"You must remain on the Tower grounds at all times, Novices are not permitted into the city at all, and nor are they permitted to visit the Warder's Yards. I know your brother is training there and you may send him a message to meet with you in the gardens if you have the opportunity for some free time, but Novices rarely have free time."

 

Valeri lifted her cup again and sipped her tea. "Have you any questions for me before we make your stay in the White Tower more permanent Charis?"

 

Valeri Kinaea

Mistress of Traditional Novices

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Charis listened attentively to what the Mistress of Novices had to say. She nodded when she told her not to use Saidar except under supervision. She and the other girls had been sternly warned by the Aes Sedai that had brought her here of that very same thing. The thought did frighten her, even though she had only held Saidar that one time it had been so sweet, made her feel alive. She did not want to lose that forever, to never know that sweetness, to never learn how to use it. And she certainly had no desire to die.

 

She listened to the other rules as well, not to leave the tower, not to associate with the warders or the recruits. She was unsurprised she would not be able to see her brother often, he had grown distant over the years since he had come to the White Tower, his letters more and more infrequent. Her mother had explained that those who served the White Tower cut their ties to the outside world, in order to serve more completely and without distraction. She realized she would have to do the same, a thought that made her yearn suddenly for home. Quickly pushing the thought away, and suppressing the tears that threatened to well in her eyes, she forced herself back into the moment. She had made her decision, no point looking back now. She endeavored to leave her brother be, he was in training to be a warder, and she was to be a novice. They no longer had a place in each others lives. She did hope he would be proud when he heard she was here, but hope for nothing more than chance meetings, mostly likely years from now.

 

When the Mistress asked her if she had any more questions she took a deep breath, giving her a moment to think. She had many questions about her training, about what was to come, but suspected now was not the time for those questions. There were other girls for the Mistress to see, after all, and plenty of time for her silly questions to be answered. She was ready to accept this life, whatever it brought. Nothing would change that now.

 

"No Aes Sedai." She said in a steady voice. " I am ready to begin."

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"No Aes Sedai. I am ready to begin."

Valeri smiled, the girl had gumption. She reached down to her drawer that held the Novice Book and lifted the aged leather bound book up onto the desk top. She leafed through the pages to the most recent entries. Taking up her pen she smiled at Charis. "Charis can you tell me your full name, place of birth and your current age please."

As the child spoke Valeri carefully recorded the details in the Novice Book, she finished the entry with her own signature, sealing Charis' life to the Tower."

"Welcome to Tar Valon, Charis Delphi. Welcome to the White Tower, Novice Charis." Valeri allowed the full weight of the importance of those words to settle on Charis before she rose and fetched out a bundle on pristine white Novice requirements. Dresses, shifts, stock, slippers, belt and pouch - everything the lass would need to begin her life within the White Tower as a Novice.

Valeri set the bundle into Charis' lap, then fished a wooden token carved with her own name on it from a jar on the desk. "When you have settled in, take this token to the Tower seamstresses and they will sew some things for you that will fit you properly."

Taking her seat again Valeri lifted the small brass bell that sat her on desk. It rang quietly, but would summon the nearest Novice or Accepted to her study with the wards that she had laid on the bell many years before.

"Before someone arrives to show you to your rooms Charis have you any more questions at all?" Valeri asked, "Now is your best opportunity. The coming days will be filled with lessons and chores."

Valeri Kinaea

Mistress of Traditional Novices

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Charis was relieved at the Aes Sedai's smile. She watched her take out a large book, curious as to what it was.

 

"Charis can you tell me your full name, place of birth and your current age please." The other woman paused, waiting for her to answer, pen waiting.

 

“My name is Charis Lae Delphi. I was born In Camelyn and I am 16 years old.” She watched as the other woman wrote the information down, almost holding her breath in anticipation.

 

"Welcome to Tar Valon, Charis Delphi. Welcome to the White Tower, Novice Charis."

 

She suppressed the sigh of relief, relief of what she wasn't sure, but couldn't stop the small smile from breaking out on her face. She had done it, she was here. She knew the months and years ahead would be hard and long, but in this moment she was content. She had never dared dream of a life in the Tower before being tested by the Aes Sedai, but now it was all she wanted. Novice Charis had such a nice ring in her ears just then. She took the clothing and other articles the Aes Sedai handed her, murmuring her thanks. She thought that the white clothing was simply the most wonderful thing she had ever been given. She watched as the other woman sat down, ringing a bell.

 

“Before someone arrives to show you to your rooms Charis have you any more questions at all?" Valeri asked, "Now is your best opportunity. The coming days will be filled with lessons and chores."

 

Charis tilted her head slightly, thinking. She had many questions, what would her training be like, what lessons would she have, but these were questions that would be answered on her own. Only one stood out in her mind. “I've heard about the Library here.” She said hesitantly. “Are novices allowed in there? I mean just to see it.” She had never seen a library before, her father had one bookshelf of books, but the White Tower's Library was the stuff of legend. She looked down in wonder at the bundle of white clothing in her lap, waiting for the other woman to respond.

 

Charis Delphi

Novice Of the White Tower

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The child was trying to maintain her composure but a small smile had escaped her lips as Valeri set the bundle on Novice whites in her lap. She tilted her head, deep in thought for a few moments when Valeri asked if she had any questions at all about her stay, “I've heard about the Library here. Are novices allowed in there? I mean just to see it.”

Valeri suppressed a laugh and smiled instead as she responded, "Child, you will spend so much time studying in that library you will come to know it back to front."

As she finished speaking there was a knock at the door. "Come" she said, raising her voice a little.

The door opened to reveal a dark-haired Novice, the child stepped through the threshold and curtsied to Valeri. Seeing Charis seated in front of the desk, her bundle of white on her lap the Novice said, "I am to see her to her room, Valeri Sedai?"

"Yes please child." Valeri smiled at the girl, perceptive this one. "This is Charis, please show her to one of the rooms that was freshly cleaned this week, then show her how to reach the Dining Hall and classrooms."

The girl nodded as Charis rose from her seat and curtsied, white bundle in hand. "Thank you Valeri Sedai."

Valeri smiled in response and then rose from her seat to call in the next girl on her list, "Oh and child," she said to the dark-haired Novice, "tell the first Novice you see to come to my study, she will escort the next girl."

The children left and Valeri called the next name on her list.

Valeri Kinaea

Mistress of Traditional Novices

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Charis nodded as Valeri Sedai explained she would see the Library often. She was about to reply when a knock at the door caught her attention. A young woman stepped in, curtsied, and looked between the two of them.

 

"I am to see her to her room, Valeri Sedai?"

 

Valerie replied in the affirmative , and Charis stood up. “Thank you Valeri Sedai.” She said, curtsying again as she followed the other girl out. She clasped her bundle of white to her as if it was a life line, and didn't speak. The other girls she had traveled with all stared at her, mixed expressions on their faces. She tried to look as serene as the Aes Sedai had, and knew she was probably failing. She only hoped she didn't frighten them too much.

 

She followed the other Novice to her rooms, where the other woman allowed her a quick moment to change into the white garments. They fit fairly well, only a little too big for her, although it did threaten to drag along the ground. . She followed the Novice again as she showed her where the Dining room was, and explained when meals were served. She was shown the classrooms, and the Novice was even kind enough to take her to the seamstress so she could get fitted for another dress. Charis was grateful for this small act of kindness.

 

Afterwords she returned to her room, it didn't seem she would have to share it with another Novice, at least not for now, and set her personal items out, comb, her old clothes stacked neatly, ready to be disposed of, the book her father had given her, a History of Camelyn to remind her of home. It was nearly Dinner hour, and she had not been given any tasks so she set about making sure the room was neat and waited.

Her life as a Novice had begun. She was home.

 

 

Charis Delphi

Novice of the White Tower

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