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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Something Never Considered (MoN!)


Leala Sedai
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For what seemed like the past half hour, Aureli stood and stared at the enormous expanses of the White Tower. From where she stood, it looked taller than Dragonmount. It might as well have been for what she was about to commit to it. The Aes Sedai that had brought her here, Eiselle Sedai, was visiting with a banker, and left her to stand outside. And all she seemed to be able to do was stare at that monolith of a tower. What awaited her in there? Eiselle had warned her that the training would not be easy. She would have responsibilities unrelated to her studies. She didn't go into specifics, though. She had said that would be for the Mistress of Novices to explain. But for all her warnings and explanations, the Aes Sedai seemed almost overjoyed that she had found Aureli's ability. "Who has ever heard of a one-armed novice?" she might as well have said. She never said it, but Aureli heard her it just the same... What would it be like to be among women who could channel the One Power? What would it be like for her to be their contemporary? She sighed, wishing Eiselle would finish her business. A girl standing in the streets with a cloak draped across her right shoulder on a warm summer's day seemed suspicious enough. She'd hate to see what these people would think if she took it off.

 

Finally, she heard the door click open behind her as Eiselle exited the banker's business. "Are you ready, child?" the Aes Sedai asked. She wore a smile, but a small one, and it seemed she was trying to affect a cold tone with her. Aureli nodded, and she, Eiselle, and her Warder Liamon mounted up again, making their way to the pristine tower.

 

Aureli tried to hold on to the rein with her one hand as best she could, but she wasn't exactly adept at riding a horse in the first place. At least the simple dress she wore was divided for riding. Otherwise, she'd be on the ground about now. Luckily, no one stopped her to offer advice. An awkward smile was usually the best she could offer for a piece like, "Hold it with both your hands, lass!" Maybe she could learn to ride a bloody horse while she was here...

 

The trio entered the Tower grounds. Liamon bade them farewell and sauntered off to the Warders Yard after helping Aureli dismount. And the Aes Sedai approached with the girl. Aureli suddenly felt very small. There were women around her age, and a little older it seemed in dresses of pure white. Others wore the exact same dress, but with seven bands of different colors on the hem. Those walked with more confidence than the others. And of course, the place was crawling with ageless women in dresses of every color, cut, and design. The Aes Sedai. So, there were two ranks below Aes Sedai. And she would likely be fitting herself into a new white dress soon.

 

Eiselle led her into the Tower and guided her to a door labeled "Mistress of Novices". "Here you are, child," Eiselle said, her voice going frosty cold. But Aureli could detect a tiny hint of a smile on the woman's ageless face. Yes, she was proud of herself for finding someone like Aureli. She took that as a cue to knock, so she did. Eiselle nodded to herself and left. Yes, very proud... When she heard someone call from within, Aureli was about to open the door when it opened by itself. It would take a while to get used to that... She put on her best smile, and walked in. And while she was at it, she took off her cloak as well to reveal her empty right sleeve, knotted a the shoulder. She might as well get that out of the way.

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  • 2 months later...

Valeri sat at the great desk sorting through the day's messages when she heard footsteps outside her door. Two sets coming forward. She stacked the papers into order and moved the the pile away from the middle of the desk, anticipating the knock. She heard the muffled talking of the parting as one left just before the knock on the door came.

 

"Come," She called as she let a weave of air settle around the doorknob and pulled it open. The girl pulled a smile to her features, but Valeri could see the shock in her eyes. That brought a smile to the Mistress of Novice's face. Her eyes darted down to the place the girl's right arm should have hung, but she did not let her gaze lay there long.

 

"Do have a seat, child, you look as though your journey was a long one, by the state of that cloak. Rest up, and tell me of the journey that leads you to the White Tower this day." She motioned to the chair opposite her own across the large desk. As she rose to refill her cup at the tea station she offered one to the girl and then spoke offhandedly, "has an Aes Sedai tested you?".

 

She set to work making a fresh pot, glancing up to the girl throughout the simple task, as she replied.

 

 

Valeri Kinaea

Mistress of Traditional Novices

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Aureli walked into the Mistress of Novices' office and looked around. She really had nothing to compare this to. There was so much organization. The paddle confused her for a bit, but not for long. This Aes Sedai had to keep the novices and Accepted in line, after all. The woman motioned for Aureli to sit across from her enormous desk and tell her how she came to the White Tower. She pushed the door closed with her hip since her arm was full with her cloak. She sat down and accepted the cup of tea after she laid her cloak across her lap. The Mistress of Novices asked if an Aes Sedai had tested her.

 

"Yes, Aes Sedai," Aureli said. "Eiselle Sedai tested me recently. My mother was..." she paused, not sure if she should speak so candidly about what her mother did for the Gray. But she hated lying. "She was a good friend of hers. She was killed a couple years ago...we're not sure who did it." She found her mind floundering in this new atmosphere. She didn't like it. But she did find her way back to the question at hand. "Eiselle Sedai and her Warder brought me here today. My name is Aureli Yenda. I would like to enroll as a novice."

 

She wasn't sure if the promise that she had been tested was enough. Would she have to stare at another stone for what seemed like hours? She wondered briefly if her training would be affected at all by the lack of her right arm. From the way Eiselle had spoken...probably not. The small pause between her sentence and the Aes Sedai's response seemed to take hours.

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Valeri set the pot of tea off the flame and took her cup back to the seat across from the girl. When she was assured that Aureli had been tested the Mistress of Novice's heart eased slightly. She had been fearing the girl's trip would be fruitless, as she always feared when a hopeful young woman came to be tested. Too many times she had had to break the heart of a girl who had nothing left to hope for but the dream of the shawl.

 

But this one had been tested, and if she could learn, she could learn around the arm she missed. The hint of sorrow returned, though she managed to keep it from her face, for life as a novice was not easy, and this girl would have a harder time of it than others. By the way the girl carried herself she seemed head strong and able enough to cope with the struggles that would come. This was a joyous occasion, coming to a life of purpose and promise and Valeri hoped the girl would be just as excited to be staying here as she was to be having her stay.

 

"I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your mother, child. l would imagine she, as a friend of Eiselle Sedai, would be quite proud to know that she has taken such good care of you, in discovering your potential and bringing you here. My advice to you is to focus on that, and on growing into the woman she would have wanted you to become."

 

Valeri opened one of the heavy desk drawers and dismissed the stone that lay tucked into the corner. Pulling a large book from the draw she let out a soft grunt as the weight of it pulled at her wrist. She set it on the cleared table top and as she began to turn the pages to last markings she spoke, "Now then, Aureli, I will need your place of birth and your age if you are to be staying." She readied her quill to add the girl's information as she met her gaze and flashed her a welcoming smile.

 

Valeri Kinaea

Mistress of Traditional Novices

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Some of the tension eased off Aureli's shoulders when the Mistress of Novices brought out a huge book and asked for her name. it made the whole thing feel much more official. She would not be turned away, and she wouldn't have to travel all the way back to Tear, facing more ridicule. It always bothered her how people pointed out something that was just part of who she was. She smiled brightly, though, when the Aes Sedai told her that her mother would be proud of her for coming in today. Eiselle had started rubbing her the wrong way since she had tested her, but she was still a good person. And after hearing the Mistress of Novice's advice, she vowed that she would indeed become the woman that her mother would have wanted her to be. She felt tickled to wonder what her mother would say about her becoming an Aes Sedai.

 

"I was born in Tear," she explained, "and I am fifteen years old." She wondered what would have happened if she had stayed in Tear, having this ability. Would she be able not to touch it? Or would she break the law there and channel eventually? Were there other places for her to go if she were unable to resist? She had felt something when Eiselle tested her, but she wasn't sure how she had managed it or if she could do it again without training. Well, with her stubborn head, she'd likely complete the training, no matter how arduous a task it was. She knew it would be hard, but she had a better chance of leading a happy life here than in Tear where she would be looked upon suspiciously for more than just a missing arm.

 

"Aes Sedai, if I may...how long does it normally take for one to reach the rank of Accepted?" she asked. "Eiselle Sedai explained a bit of the ranks to me, but she didn't explain much." Aureli wanted to know how long it took to become Aes Sedai, too...but she didn't want to be discouraged so early on, either...

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The Mistress of Novices finished filling the information into the novice book and signed her flowing signature to it.

 

"There then," she said as she closed the book over with a solid thump, "Welcome to the White Tower, Novice." she said with joy. She replaced the heavy book to the desk drawer and closed it gently. She took another sip of the sweetened tea before clasping her fingers together and resting her arms on the desk.

 

"Now to your questions," she started, "each woman's journey here is individual. There is no set date and time to mark you prepared to be tested. For some it is ten years, for some it is twelve. For some it could be as soon as eight. I would not count the days, child, for it comes of learning all there is to learn at the level you are, not by where the sun is in the sky. For some it takes years longer to learn the skills needed, and for some their time here is cut short in seeing that they have learned all they can. Take each day for what it is, child, for each day could always be our last.

 

In your time as Novice you will take classes to teach you not only how to utilize the gift of channeling, but to teach you of the ways of the world; to prepare you to go out into it and serve. Classes do not run all day, but you will. When you are not in class you will be expected to report for chores around the White Tower; it is your home now, and as such, you must help to keep it clean and well running.

 

I am not sure how much my sister was able to tell you on your journey, but I will try to shed some light on how things work around here.

 

Until you are Accepted you will not be permitted off of the Tower grounds, but you will have one free day each week to rest up or do as you wish around the Tower."

 

Valeri explained the rest of the rules, from curfew, to how she is to address each level of Tower residents, to the daily scheduled for a Novice.

 

She explained that one of the conditions of staying at the Tower was that the girl was to turn in all items she brought with her that would not suit a novice.

 

"Unfortunately not every girl who's name is marked in that book you were just entered into stays to make it to Aes Sedai. Your journey is only beginning here child, how far you make it is still up to you. Should you not reach the shawl, for what ever reason, you are expected to turn in your dresses. You will have your things returned to you, and I will see that you have money to see you out of Tar Valon and on your way. Of course, we aim to see you raised to Aes Sedai, and will do all we can to help that come to pass. When the time comes that you are raised, the things you give over today will be returned to you."

 

Valeri gestured to have the girl's things as she spoke, "If ever you need someone to talk to, if ever you are homesick, hurt or scared, my door is always open. Yes, it is true that if you step out of line you'll find yourself back in that same seat you are sat in now, but know I am not just here to discipline you when you do wrong. If you have questions, I often have answers and my door is always open to you."

 

She rose and retrieved a set of of novice dresses and turned back to Aureli, "Try these on when you get to your room, see that they fit well. If they need tailoring we can have that done. Once they are fitted, take care of them well, child; they will not be replaced should you destroy them. They are white now, and each time I lay eyes on them they are to be white. Take care not to get stains and be sure to keep the wrinkles out."

 

The Mistress of Novices handed the novice clothes to Aureli as she made her way to the door. Opening it, she called to the nearby Accepted to have a room made up for the girl. She told the Accepted to return and show the Aureli to it when it was prepared. Closing the door she returned to the new novice, "you may wait in the hall to be shown to your room, or if you have more questions, you are welcome to stay as you are and I'll do my best to answer them and help you settle."

 

 

Valeri Kinaea

Mistress of Traditional Novices

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That did sound like a long time. It almost seemed daunting, even for someone determined like Aureli. But at the same time, what were her other options? Struggling to keep the inn afloat, always afraid she'd end up like her mother, afraid for her family. She had only been the eyes-and-ears for Eiselle Sedai for a few years, and it was exhausting work with all the added stress. But here, she could be more than an innkeeper's daughter with one arm that people looked at strangely. Here, she could make something of herself. She could find out talents that not everyone had. Suddenly, a few decades of hard work seemed worth it.

 

She was glad Valeri Sedai was offering all this advice, too. It gave her confidence, and it made her feel like there was someone there for her besides Eiselle, who likely would ignore her while she was an initiate. She handed her cloak and her bag over to the Mistress of Novices. There was really nothing special in there. The best her family could give her was a hug before she left. She recieved a bundle of dresses in pure white. There was even a white belt, stockings, slippers, and pouch. She'd have a hard time keeping stains out of these. But she was up for the challenge. Smiling up at the Mistress of Novices, Aureli said, "Thank you, Aes Sedai. I feel much better having talked to you. I can't think of any more questions right now, though. So, I'll wait in the hall. She would have curtsied if her arm wasn't full, so she bobbed without spreading her skirts.

 

Walking outside, she stood with her white clothes and waited on her escort. Everything around here was so...pristine...so strange. The Tower moved like a well-oiled machine. Other girls in white gawked at where her arm should be. She just smiled at them. Women in Accepted dresses would give her a curious glance, but didn't seem to pay much attention. And the Aes Sedai would walk past her as if she was just another novice. Nothing too unusual here. It would be difficult to spending so much time with nothing but women, but she could get used to it.

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