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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Meeting the Mistress of Novices


Ledinna Sedai
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After the long journey from Tanchico to Tar Valon, Sagneia was terribly tired. It felt like every single day of the journey had been a half longer than the last one. This day had felt like an entire week, though the sun was still bright in the sky. Especially the quietness of the ride had made her rather sleepy.

 

The Aes Sedai who had found out that the girl could be taught to channel, had been rather icy companion. No matter how Sagneia had flattered and admired her, no matter how she had sung to take away the silence, every time she got back just the icy look. So neither of them had spoken more than a couple of words during the long way. Even now, as they had arrived inside the Shining Walls of Tar Valon, Sagneia knew only bits and pieces about the Tower, and almost nothing about the Aes Sedai that had ridden with her all the way. Even the name the Aes Sedai had told her, was surely invented.

 

Now, after a ride of four hours, Sagneia was finally inside the Tower. Without any time to rest, or to think of all those miracles she had seen in the beautiful Tar Valon and in the Tower itself, the Aes Sedai who had accompanied her all the long journey left the tired girl to the nearest Accepted, and told to take her to the Mistress of Novices. Then the woman was nowhere to be seen.

 

Sagneia felt a clunk in her pride as the only even little familiar face left her alone as soon as possible. If the Accepted hadn't been so important-looking, the Taraboner would have probably shown her rage openly. Now she hid it and just followed the Accepted with no idea what was going to happen next. Without the older woman she would have been completely lost in the huge Tower. Apparently the Accpeted knew what to do, though, so Sagneia tried not to worry and to calm herself down.

 

Neither of them spoke to each other, Sagneia too busy to see everything in the Tower and to locate herself, the Accepted leading the way looking like she knew every single corner of the Tower. Before the door was already in front of her, Sagneia had no clue where she was and what was she supposed to do. Then she was nearly pushed inside the office of the Mistress of Novices.

 

There stood Sagneia, sweaty, her face all red, and still gasping a little. The redness of the face and the gasping had a little to do with the ride, though. Good at lying to herself, Sagneia didn't find the reason for them although the reason stood directly in front of her.

 

The girl was suddenly afraid to move her eyes from the floor. She had no need to meet the eyes of an Aes Sedai that was also much taller than her.

Staring at the floor Sagneia froze in to that place. She hoped she wouldn't be the one supposed to speak first; she had no idea what anew Novice should say to the Mistress of Novices. This was one of those raremoments that the girl was completely speechless.

 

Sagneia Kathen,

new Novice in the Tower

Edited by Ledinna Sedai
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Valeri looked up from her letters as the door to her study pushed open and revealed a sweaty, red-face slip of a lass. The child stood there, gasping a little.

 

Valeri channelled a thread of fire and warmed the teapot before pouring herself and the lass a cup of tea. Valeri pushed the tea cup across the desk and said, "Come in child. My name is Valeri Kinaea. You may call me Valeri Sedai. I am the Mistress of Novices here at the White Tower."

 

"You may sit," she continued, "And perhaps you could tell me about yourself and what brings you to the White Tower."

 

Valeri Kinaea

Mistress of Novices

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Taking a deep breath, Sagneia sat down trying hard not tostare at the teapot that was boiling. Maybe she could do that in some day, too.This Aes Sedai seemed to be quite nice, no icy looks and silence.

 

"You may sit. Andpehaps you could tell me about yourself and what brings you to WhiteTower."

 

So she sat. being so near of somebody that could channelmade her nervous and thrilled on the same time. And now Sagneia knew what tosay. This was her favourite subject after all: herself.

 

"Well, I'm Sagneia Kathen from Tanchico, very nice tomeet you, Valeri Sedai," the girl said gaining her self-confidence back little by little, and evenmanaging to make a smile.

 

"About myself... Well, I think I can sing pretty well" Hmph! That was lame! Splendid would be muchbetter word to express my singing. I just wonder... is this something you aresupposed to tell an Aes Sedai?

 

She bit her lip and took the cup from the table, just togive her hands something to do. The cup was nice and warm in her hands and itcalmed her down. The smell was also lovely and she drank two big gulps without even thinking. Just then, as the tea boiled inside her mouth and throat, she rememberedthat it was unwise. Tears rose in her eyes but she managed not to make a sound,as she got her mouth burned.

 

After a while of embarrassing silence, she continued to talk with a growing speed to balance the pause, "Myfather sells fabrics in his own store. I have no mother anymore, and nosiblings either. But I have always had friends. These last ones weren't sogood, though, so I'm almost glad I got rid of them. They weren't bad friends oranything but... we just couldn't understand each other. Actually I think I'venever had a friend that would understand me perfectly. I mean I've got goodfriends but -well some were annoying, to be honest. But usually I make friendspretty easily"

 

Sagneia didn't notice herself that her talk made no sense at all.Sadly, that was also the most deep and honest speech she had had so far. It wasweird; once you started to speak truthfully, you couldn't stop for a while.

 

She had to sip a bit tea to stop herself from talking. Thistime she did it more carefully, though and didn't burn her mouth. Soon enough,she began with the talk again.

 

"Well umm... This one day, though, an Aes Sedai came tothe shop and noticed me- I mean... erm... Noticed that I could learn tochannel. That's why she brought me here. I don't know her name, though, shedidn't tell me. Or yes, she told but it wasn't her real name. I suppose,"the girl finished. Now even she noticed that her little speech had made lessand less sense as it had continued. Sagneia would have blushed if the rednessof the face had allowed it.

 

Trying to hide her embarrassment she looked at the calm AesSedai unsure.

 

Sagneia Kathen,

 

New Novice

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  • 3 weeks later...

Valeri sat quietly while the child babbled out her tale, she was nervous, it was to be expected on one's first visit to the White Tower, even more so as a potential Novice.

 

The child's cheeks reddened as she finished and she looked down into her lap.

 

"So Sagneia, it appears you can learn to channel. Is this the path you would chose for yourself? Is becoming Aes Sedai important enough to leave your old life behind? If you have any questions or uneasiness, now is the time to air them child"

 

Valeri smiled warmly at the lass who still sat fidgeting before her and waited for her response.

 

Valeri Kinaea

Mistress of Tradional Novices

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"So Sagneia, it appears you can learn to channel. Is this the path you would choose for yourself? Is becoming Aes Sedai important enough to leave your old life behind? If you have any questions or uneasiness, now is the time to air them child"

The calm warmness of the Aes Sedai calmed also Sagneia, and without recognizing it, the girl buried the embarrassment deep inside her, where all her other worries, sadness, anger and all other bad feelings that she had felt since she could remember, were also buried. She herself didn't even know the place existed. The calmness changed quickly to determination.

 

"Yes. This is what I want. There could have never been a better path for me, and my old life... it wasn't that much really. Because of this I really have something worth waiting for in the future. I would give my old life away hundred times for this. There's only one I could be missing... Dad. Not that he would dare to live so near to someone who can channel"

 

Sagneia made a real effort to keep her voice in control. Her father could be a real coward when it came to channeling. And thinking of her father made her also think her mother. The girl's voice started quivering despite the determination that hadn't changed.

 

"So, my old life wouldn't have worked anyway. I think this is my only possibility to have any kind of life and I think I'm worth of all this. I can do this- no, I will do this. I can handle this new life as well as the old one," she said. Her inner pride was showing up again, and she spoke more truthfully than she had done in so many years.

 

Maybe it was stupidity, maybe the pride or defiance, but at once Sagneia looked up across the table, straight in the eyes of the Mistress of Novices. I can do this. I can handle this. She kept repeating the words herself silently. Those were the words that she always used in difficult situations, and so far they had became the truth every time she had used them. And I will make sure this won't be the first time they fail me.

Sagneia Kathen

New Novice

Edited by Ledinna Sedai
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Valeri smiled warmly at the lass seated before her then reached down to withdraw the Novice Book from its drawer in the the desk. She set the book on the desk and turned the pages to the ribbon marking the most recent entries. Valeri lifted her pen and inked it, "Can you tell me your full name, place of birth and age please child."

 

As Sagneia spoke Valeri wrote the details into the prescribed columns of the Novice Book in her neat hand. After signing the entry with her own signature Valeri sanded the page then set the book aside.

 

"Welcome to Tar Valon, Sagneia Kathen. Welcome to the White Tower Novice Segneia."

 

Valeri rose from her chair and allowed the child a few minutes to process the depth of the welcome she had been given. Sealed to the White Tower - for the foreseeable future at least. Valeri went to the large ornate wardrobe that stood in the corner of her study and from within she withdrew a bundle - after years in the position of Mistress of Novices, Valeri's guesses as to the sizes of new Novices were fairly accurate.

 

Valeri set the bundle on the desk in front of Sagneia and took her own seat again. The lass looked at the pile of clothing before her appearing to be a little confused.

 

"These are the clothes of a Novice, child." Valeri said with a smile, "There are dresses, shifts, stockings, slippers, a belt and a pouch here, they are all Novice White. Novices are not permitted to wear anything other than the garments supplied to them."

 

Valeri fished a a wooden token from a jar on her desk and placed it into Sagneia's hand, "In a few days once you know your way around the Tower, take this token to the seamstresses, they will make you a set of dresses and shifts to fit you properly."

 

"Now child, have you any more questions for me?"

 

Valeri Kinaea

Mistress of Novices

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"Welcome to Tar Valon, Sagneia Kathen. Welcome to the White Tower, Novice Sagneia"

 

Sagneia's heart gave a deep thump as she heard those words. Again, she was full of pride. It was like her life had just begun. Now she couldn't turn back anymore, even if she had wanted so. And she didn't.

 

The girl had been staring the desk, so she startled as the Mistress of Novices put a pile of white clothes in front of her. White. She didn't have a favorite colour, but she definetly hated one colour over anything else, and that was white. Sagneia hadn't worn white since her mother's "funeral".

 

The new Novice had no idea what she was supposed to do with the white clothes. Maybe wash them? But no, they looked very clean. She wasn't supposed to wear them, was she? The girl had clothes of her own, each garment a good quality, as the fabrics were from her father's shop. Surely the Aes Sedai would accept those clothes, or would they?

 

"These are the clothes of a Novice, child. There are dresses, shifts, stockings, slippers, a belt and a pouch here, they are all Novice White. Novices are not permitted to wear anything other than the garments supplied to them"

 

The horror spread through Sagneia. I'm not allowed to wear my own clothes? I must wear only that horrible white? Oh Light, I have to get raised fast! Her heart sank, and she struggled against the tears. Even she herself knew this was childlish, but she couldn't do anything for it. Sagneia kept swallowing tears and trying to calm down. White! And for many years only white. The girl looked again at the desk, so that the Aes Sedai wouldn't see her eyes getting wet.

 

Mistress of Novices put a wooden token in the girl's hand. But even the promise of new dresses didn't raise her spirits. Those ones would be white too. At that moment Sagneia vowed herself never to use white clothes as she was raised to Aes Sedai. Never. No matter how many rules it would break then.

"Now child, have you any more questions for me?"

 

Sagneia was silent for a moment, to give the impression of thinking some questions. In reality, she fought the tears finally back and managed to put up a weak smile.

 

"No, Valeri Sedai. Not yet, at least. Or wait... maybe just one. How long does it usually take to get raised to Accepted? I have no more questions except for that one"

 

Sagneia Kathen,

New Novice

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