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Leala Sedai

Introduction to Saidar: Lesson One

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Aureli tried not to fuss about the room, but soon after she arrived, every bench and every desk was strictly aligned to be parallel with the back wall of the room. She'd taught this class before, but that didn't stop her from being a bit nervous. New students meant striking out on a new relationship with a new class. She remembered taking this exact class. It was where she met her very first friend in the White Tower, Narie. Narie hadn't made it to Accepted before she was put out of the Tower. She had come to the classroom half an hour early as she always did. Having one arm made everything harder, but not impossible.

 

She walked to the door when she heard girls milling about outside. "Good morning, girls. Please take a seat," she said. She sat down at the teacher's desk in the front of the room and watched as girls and young women in white dresses filed in. She kept a smile on her face. As everyone did when they first saw her, a lot of girls gave her missing arm a strange look, but she smiled at them as if they had smiled and waved at her.

 

Once the last novice filed in, she began.

 

Standing up, Aureli addressed her class. "It's good to see everyone here on time. I am Accepted Aureli, and I will be teaching you this course on the basics of Saidar." She seemed to have everyone's attention. Good. "This is your first step to mastering Saidar and becoming Aes Sedai. I will teach you about the nature of Saidar, how to embrace it, and just a sample of what you can do with it." She stopped in the middle of the front of the room. "Now, I'd like everyone to introduce themselves, and say a bit about themselves before we move on. This will be helpful for all of us." She chose the novice seated to her left at the front corner of the class to begin. She watched and listened as every one of her students stood up and introduced themselves.

 

When they were done, she moved on. "Very good. Let's continue. Now, as some of you may know, the basics of any subject are always the most important. You must know how something works and what it can do before you can move forward to master it. Therefore, this class will be the most important one that you will ever take while at the Tower." She paused before she continued. "Now, this next part may be a bit hard for some of you to take, but please keep these warnings in mind. They may save your life one day." There was a murmur around the classroom and Aureli raised her left hand to quiet them.

 

"The first thing you must know is that you are never...NEVER channel without the supervision of an Aes Sedai or Accepted. If you are caught channeling without supervision...well...let's just say the Mistress of Novices has a special punishment for those who don't obey that particular rule. In extreme cases, novices have been put out of the Tower for breaching this rule. Do I make myself clear?" There was a general feel of solemn agreement, so she continued.

 

Aureli began to walk across the front of the classroom as she spoke this next part. "Saidar is addictive. You will want to embrace it every chance you get. You will feel alive, as if the world without the power is but a vague shadow without it. Colors are brighter, noises more clear, and you will feel joy. You will feel temptation to experience this all the time. But you must not without supervision. You must learn to control this desire if you wish to finish your training, or even survive. Yes. Saidar, taken too much, can be deadly. But with supervision, you will channel safely and at a safe pace." She stopped in the middle of the room. "So. Repeat after me. 'I will never channel unsupervised.'" She heard the novices all repeat after her. She made them say it again for good measure.

 

"Well done. Please take out your pen and parchment. You will need to take notes now."

 

Once everyone was settled with their parchment and ready to begin, Aureli continued. "This next part covers the One Power, and how it works. The One Power is what drives us all, whether we know it or not. It drives all of Creation. It is what makes the Pattern move, what makes the world turn. As we can all touch the One Power, we can make it move to our own designs."

 

Moving to the board, she took a piece of chalk and drew a circle. "As a whole, the One Power is a circle." She added a sinuous line to the circle and colored in the half of the circle shaped like a tear drop in with the white chalk. "The One Power is made up of two halves: Saidar and Saidin. Saidar is the female half. We as women channelers embrace Saidar. The symbol for Saidar is the Flame of Tar Valon, which is the white half of this circle," she said, indicating the half she had colored white. "Saidin is the male half. Men channel Saidin, and the emblem of that is the Dragon's Fang." There were gasps and worried murmurs around the room as she labeled each half of the circle.

 

Aureli turned back to her students and stared at them, waiting for them to quiet down. When they did, she went on. "Saidar and Saidin are two halves of a whole. They have two different natures, but neither of them is wholly evil or wholly good. You may have heard that Saidin is evil, because men who channel too much of it often go insane. This is because during the Sealing of the Bore, the imprisonment of the Dark One, the Dark One reached out and tainted Saidin with his own essence as he was sealed away. This is why men who can channel so often go mad. More often than not, they can kill others before they are stopped. It is the Red Ajah's mission to find these men and gentle them, cut them off from the One Power, before too much damage is done."

 

She watched as the girls hurriedly wrote what she said. None of them asked her to repeat anything. "Saidar is pure, without any taint. We do not fall prey to any madness when we use Saidar. We must surrender to Saidar to understand it and use it." She went to the board again. "The Five Powers of the One Power are Fire, Water, Earth, Air, and Spirit." She wrote each of the Five Powers on the board as they were mentioned. "Women are usually strongest in Air or Water while men seem to have talents in Earth and Fire. Spirit is evenly split with no preference. Likely, you will find that you can channel one or two of the Powers more easily than others, but as your studies progress, you will be using more than one of the Powers in one weave."

 

Aureli waited for the girls to finish writing. When she saw that everyone was ready to move on, she walked in front of the teacher's desk to address them again. "Now for the moment you've all been waiting for. Please put your parchments away. We will now embrace Saidar." Once every desk was clear, she began to instruct them.

 

"Close your eyes," she said, using a calm, soothing voice rather than the strong, confident tone she had been using. Once all the girls had their eyes closed, she continued. "Imagine a rosebud. Think of nothing else but this rosebud." She spoke slowly as she wove through the class, trying to give her voice a hypnotic quality. "In fact, I want you to become this rosebud. You are the rosebud. Don't think of anything but this rosebud, its petals gently embracing you. You can feel the sun just outside of these petals, but not quite. As the rosebud's petals open, you begin to feel the warmth and light of the sun. Draw that warmth in." As she spoke the last part, she saw some novices become surrounded by the glow of Saidar.

 

Some novices lost the light, but found it again. Some needed her help, which she was glad to give. But eventually, she had an entire classroom full of girls holding Saidar.

 

Aureli Yenda

Accepted

 

(OOC: RP coming in, introducing yourself, your reaction to the lecture about Saidin and Saidar, and your attempts to embrace Saidar. Questions are welcome, and Aureli can help if you need it. I'll move on soon, but if you join in after I've moved on, there's no problem. I can always come back and finish here with you.)

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Ceridwyn skidded around a corner of the White Tower, pride of Tar Valon, kicking the carpet up slightly as she ran. She never quite knew exactly how these things happened, but she was always late. She didn't even do anything! She left at the same time as other people, walked at the same speed, knew her way around better than most, and still, she was always late. Her aim for her time as a novice was to turn her almost always late into an always almost late, meaning she was never actually tardy, more like...never early and a bit off time. Nodding to what seemed even to her as skewed logic, Dwyn continued her mad dash down the corridors, not bothering to slow down at the raised eyebrows and sniffs and looks she got from older Tower walkers. They could sniff and walk gracefully as much as they wanted, she would still be rather dramatically late to her first ever lesson with the One Power.

 

Seeing the open doors at the end of the corridor, Dwyn grinned her relief and slowed to a walk, allowing her body time to settle. She reached up to adjust the white headscarf in her hair. She'd been wearing a headscarf for many, many years now, she wasn't going to stop at the request of the Tower, although out of respect for the Aes Sedai, she'd made herself a white one to comply with uniform restrictions. Even now she had a few feathers and cotton threads still in her hair, the ones that had been there so long she wasn't quite sure how to remove them anymore.

 

Sure now that she wasn't going to enter the class with her heart still trying to gallop out of her throat, Dwyn swept through the doors and took a seat, seeing the Accepted's eyes on her as she took one of the remaining seats in the classroom, at the front and to the left, in a corner, which Ceridwyn didn't mind, as she could but her back to a wall and watch the group and the teacher.

 

When the Accepted's speech began with the phrase, "I'm glad to see you all here on time," Dwyn couldn't keep a grin from her face. So, the mad dash had been worth something after all. A brief glance over the teacher intrigued Dwyn by her lack of arm, but she didn't dwell on it, quickly scanning the rest of the class and taking in details of appearance she thought she might be useful. Very soon, she found herself the centre of attention as she was asked to introduce herself, the first in the class.

 

A grin already lighting up her face, Dwyn waved to the class and the teacher, her thumb catching a few of her dark curls on the way past. "Hello everyone, I'm Ceridywn Taereth, I'm from the Foregate in Cairhien. My family runs an inn there, so needless to say, my knowledge of the one power is, hmm, how to put this...somewhat limited." she grinned, adding, "So if I'm struggling, be warned, I am very likely to start trying to make conversation with those of you who are succeeding." Having earnt herself a laugh, Dwyn continued, her voice mellowing down from performance level. Already she missed singing. She hadn't sung in such a long time...  "In all seriousness though, I'm eager to make friends around here, so don't hesitate to come and say hello." she finished up, firing a bright smile at anyone who looked her way, which considering she was the only one talking, was rather a copious amount of people. She was more than happy with the amount of smiles she received in return, and most of them genuine as well. She was taking it upon herself to make the novices with her as comfortable as they could be, and if that meant making a fool out of herself, then she was happy to do it.

 

The spotlight moved on from her to the girl sitting on her right, and Dwyn listened intently to each of the little introductions the girls gave, cataloging their words and their smiles, analysing their take of their moment of fame. Dwyn herself had been comfortable on a stage practically in the womb, but some of these girls had obviously never been put on the spot before, and some of obviously had no great desire to speak in public, especially in a new environment like this. Understanding the extra pressure that gave to a person, Dwyn listened with a pinch of salt to each of their miniature speeches. A person under pressure was rarely the same person you'd meet in the hallway.

 

Much of the rest of the lesson passed in a bore for Dwyn as she listened to the lovely Accepted teaching them. She took down notes, but the majority of what she heard sounded much akin to what she already knew, and besides, Dwyn only needed to hear something once to remember it. Writing it down and re-reading it would never be much use. And so, the majority of her notes were in fact absent-minded scribbles or feigned writing so she looked at least like she was doing what she was supposed to be doing.

 

And then came the interesting bit. The beginning of the embrace.

 

Aureli's voice changed considerably as she began to teach them the technique of embracing saidar. The change in timbre between the tone she'd been using for the lesson-her confident teacher tone-the tone she'd been slipping into occasionally-what must have been her normal voice-and the voice she was using now, a wonderfully low and hypnotic voice that swept over the room, was astonishing. Dwyn smiled as she heard it, thinking that her mind was far too focused on singing and that she needed to stop listening to tones and listen to the words. Logic rarely prevailed in Dwyn's mind, and it didn't this time, as she instead just listened to the sound of Aureli's voice, assigning the words it was speaking no meaning.

 

The sounds washed over her, her song-starved ears craving and inventing warm tones that surrounded Dwyn, playing around her ears, begging entry into her heart and her soul. She could feel the sound as an almost tangible thing, she could feel it, touching her, stroking her mind, and gladly she surrendered to the daydream of music and beautiful noise.

 

Saidar shone through Dwyn like a beacon. A sea of beauty, pure and raw, washed through her like the sweetest, purest water she had ever drank, seeping into every crevice of her being. She could feel as she had never felt before, see as though she had been blind every day before she'd known saidar, taste the very molecules of the air, and the sound, oh the sound, the beautiful symphony of ecstasy that was saidar, singing in her mind.

 

Dwyn wanted that light to fill her up, so bright and pure that it drove away even the fear of the dark that had been nesting in her soul for so very long. She drew it in, further and further, drank as deeply as she could and let it wash over her, through her, giving herself up completely and letting saidar sing.

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Nyanna strode along the corridor gripping the white satchel she had found in her room’s cupboard, and held some quills and ink, notebook, parchment and a scroll with her upcoming classes on it. She felt the butterflies, very nervous and yet for the first time looking forward to a One Power lesson – her first proper one, now the block was gone.

It was gone… She’d held saidar before, the last time only a little while ago when Leala had helped her break the block, felt the beautiful sweetness of it. But she hadn’t learnt how to handle it properly, and after all those years of (mistakenly) believing it had been her who had caused her parent’s deaths by Sparking, there was nothing more she wanted than learn how to use it safely. She looked forward to the reassurance that would bring.

 

Nyanna rounded a corner and stopped dead, finding herself in the midst of a large group of novices- letting out a gasp of shock she stumbled back and pressed her back against the wall of the corridor. Light, all these people suddenly, it still wasn’t what she had been used to. She breathed out slowly and stood by the wall, letting her eyes drift around the other breathlessly whispering girls. Waiting.
 

The doors opened, all talking ceased, and she hung back, filing in after the others. There were many small tables in neat rows, and all the novices were taking places behind them. As she had done before, Nyanna walked down the side of the classroom, settling behind a desk at one side of the room, but in the middle this time, and fingered the strap of the satchel until the scuffling of everyone seating themselves died down. Only then did she look at their teacher, who rose gracefully and started the class with an introduction. Looking around as she listened, Nyanna spotted her roomie a few desks away. She waved slightly and grinned. For all the fact that this was the second time she sat it, she was just as excited about channeling ‘properly’ already.


One by one the novices introduced themselves – some she knew, others had been busy with separate chores or just arrived, but Nyanna tried to remember all their names anyway. Too soon it was her turn and she sprang up, quite surprised at herself as she started talking. “Hello, I’m Nyanna al’Dyn, from Dell’s Bridge in Andor but I kind of…lived wild in the woods for a while.” She felt a blush shoot into her face as she realised how strange that should sound, but anyone who had questions could ask her later, and she continued on. “I’ve sat this class before because I had a Block - but that’s been broken so I’m just as excited to learn to use saidar now! Properly.” She smiled and then sat down rather abruptly, aware of some envious glances shot her way because channelled before. The next girl stood and Nyanna listened, relieved. That hadn’t been so bad.

 

"Very good.  Let's continue.  Now, as some of you may know…”

 

The Accepted began lecturing about the purpose and warnings of using the One Power, strongly emphasising the need for safety “I will never channel unsupervised…” she murmured along with all the others.

As Aureli paced in front of the class and drew diagrams to underline her words, Nyanna unfolded the parchment from her satchel and skimmed the notes she had taken in the first class, adding words here and there, but basically it was all what she had remembered already.
 

"Now for the moment you've all been waiting for.”

 

Nyanna looked up with renewed interest, listening closely as Aureli began talking about the actual embracing of saidar. Her voice was soft and quietly encouraging, and as one the class slowly relaxed, each focusing inwardly. Nyanna closed her eyes and the now familiar image of the shining tiny white woodland flower blossomed before her inner vision. It spun gently, its petals opening eve wider and reaching out to her, into her… embracing her protectively and from its elfin small golden centre, a light radiated ever more strongly.
 

The light beckoned warmly, tinkling through her mind and very being, calling to her as she felt the ever-increasing desire to seize it. Nyanna surrendered willingly, reaching out with every yearning bit of her awareness, and invited that light into her soul, pulling in the rays even though they spread freely themselves, filtering all through her.

 

Oh she wanted to drown in its brilliance, drink up the beauty of the light that shone brighter and brighter and never ended, never would end. All senses heightened, even her own inaudible breathing sounded clear and her skin prickled with the slightest drafts as she tried to embrace the whole of the everlasting light. Light. She could draw in more and more and more and although it hurt, be in complete bliss on and on and on…it was freedom.

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Hallia approached the door to her first classroom with a blend of nervousness and excitement battling for dominance as her main emotion.  As she neared, she saw several other girls in white waiting nearby already.  She halted near the edge of a small group of girls engaged in animated conversation, too shy to include herself in the conversation.  A few moments later, an Accepted spoke from the doorway, instructing the novices to enter the classroom. 

 

Slipping into a seat towards the front Hallia rested her chin on one hand, watching the rest of the novices file into the class.  Her eyes drifted from the doorway to take in the rest of the classroom and the young woman teaching it.  She took note of the Accepted’s missing arm, feeling a moment of sympathy before averting her eyes, not wanting to be impolite.

 

The Accepted stood, and all eyes were on her as she began the lesson.  She was fascinated from the beginning, and especially excited to get to finally learn about Saidar.  Then the girls were instructed to introduce themselves, and Hallia felt herself grow less nervous as other girls took their turn.  Everyone seemed genuinely nice; she hoped to be able to make some friends here.  When it was her turn she stood, clenching her hands together at her waist as she began to speak.  “My name is Hallia Shessair, from Kandor.  I lived there with my mother, who was a healer, and I ah…look forward to getting to know you all!”  There was a slight hesitation at the mention of her mother, a moment of sadness at her loss. 
 

Retaking her seat she pushed those thoughts out of her mind as she listened to the rest of the girls taking their turns, paying special attention to people’s names so that she could try and remember them all.  After the last girl finished the Accepted resumed the lesson.  She sat watching in rapt attention to the Aureli, repeating quietly after her.  “I will never channel unsupervised.”  As instructed afterwards Hallia slipped out her pen and parchment from the satchel she carried and began taking notes.  When they were finished Aureli approached the desk at the front of the class once again.

It was time to actually embrace Saidar.  “Close your eyes,” the Accepted began.

 

Hallia closed her eyes, intent on the soft voice and words coming from the front of the class.  She imagined a rosebud, became this rosebud.  As time passed she could feel herself becoming more in tune with the flower, and how the imagined sun felt just outside her petal-soft cocoon.  She willed that warmth to flow into her, and there it was. Saidar.  Everything felt so crisp, so clear, all overshadowed by a feeling of joy that she had never known before.
 

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Kira entered the classroom after the teacher - an accepted named Aureli. Kira noticed that she only had one arm.  She took a momentary glance at the limb, but quickly looked away.  She didn't want to embarrass her and she had seen people with missing limbs before while she was a serving girl at her parents inn.  This wasn't a new thing for her.  She saw Hallia, her roommate, sitting on the other side of the room and went over to join her.  Kira then listened to Aureli introduce herself and tell the students what to expect in the class.  She then asked the students to introduce themselves.

 

Kira listened carefully to the others in the class who introduced themselves, filing their names away.  She wouldn't get them all, but she would remember some.  When it was her turn she rose.

 

"I'm Kira Tuvunenia from Ebou Dar.  My parents own an inn there and I grew up working as a serving girl.  I'm looking forward to my life here and working with all of you," she said smiling.

 

The lesson began.  Kira could feel the butterflies forming in her stomach.  Aureli said using Saidar was addicting and could be dangerous.

 

I'm inexperienced! What if I do it wrong and hurt myself or someone else? Kira thought nervously. 

 

Those thoughts quickly went away quickly when she realized that is why Aureli was here.  She was here to make sure they stayed safe.  She took in a deep breath as Aureli explained how to embrace Saidar.

 

She tried to do what Aureli said.  She closed her eyes and thought of a rosebud.  She thought of it blooming and - nothing.  Nothing happened.  She opened her eyes and closed them again.  Trying once more to reach the source.  Again, she felt nothing.  She could fell the heat building in her cheeks as her frustrations began to build.  She started to breathe faster.  This time she felt something.  It was distant, but there  She stopped, feeling frustrated, but relieved, and looked towards Aureli.  The accepted saw her looking and gave her a smile of encouragement.  Kira breathed in releasing her frustration.

 

If I would have went farther, that could have been bad.

 

Kira closed her eyes again.  She had touched Saidar, but lost it.  She let herself remain calm this time.  She thought once more of the rosebud and pictured it blooming in the sun, and suddenly, it was there.  She could feel Saidar and it felt so...amazing.  She reluctantly let of it and smiled.

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Aureli surveyed her class, watching carefully for those that would not let go, or drank too deeply.  Whenever she saw one that took in too much Saidar, she would simply touch their shoulder to let them know that they should ease up.  She had already discussed that Saidar was dangerous, and she had been told that one novice would have trouble, because she had started off as a wilder.  Having been at the Tower for so long, this was her first class with the other novices, having finally broken her block.  Nyanna seemed to have done well, though.  She embraced Saidar and seemed to be able to hold it well enough.  

 

She noticed one of the girls was from Ebou Dar, like her.  She watched Kira, and she seemed to be having trouble, and she seemed nervous, too.  When she looked up after failing to embrace Saidar again, Aureli gave her a kind, encouraging smile.  She just had to make herself calm to be able to hold on to it.  It would make the class to complicated to say it, but the rosebud technique was just a technique for making them calm.  They could have imagined anything if it made them calm enough to reach out.

 

Once she saw that everyone had held Saidar successfully for the first time under her supervision.  "Wonderful," she said.  "Everyone did wonderfully today.  Release Saidar now.  We will continue in the next class.  And just a reminder...remember, don't channel, even just reaching out to touch it without supervision from an Accepted or an Aes Sedai."  She looked around, and once everyone had winked out, she dismissed class.

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Ariani hurried through the halls, making use of the shortcuts that she had discovered and arriving early, as usual. It seemed as if some of the other girls had also gotten to the 

 

class early and they stood outside of the classroom, chatting and giggling with each other as they waited. Ariani stayed back, waiting around the corner and out of sight until she 

saw them enter the room. When the last girl went in, Ariani slipped out from around the corner and made her own, quiet entrance. She gave a small, brief smile at the Accepted 

who was teaching the class and then quickly found herself a seat as close to the door as she could manage. This was to be her first class that included some of the other girls, and 

her nerves were twitching. She kept her gaze downwards to avoid eye contact with anyone else.

 

 

 

Once everyone had found their places, the Accepted stood and addressed the class, starting off by introducing herself. Ariani noticed that the girl, Aureli, was missing an arm, but 

she didn't dwell on it. She had seen worse, and the Accepted didn't appear to allow that to bring her down. She gave a brief summary of the class and then asked everyone to go around 

the room and introduce themselves. Ariani's heart sank. There would be no way to avoid having all eyes on her, and she slumped down into her seat. She watched as the other girls stood 

and introduced themselves, not seeming to mind being the center of attention for a few moments. When it came to her turn, she stood and a quick, clear voice she said, "Ariani Cairawyn," 

she fingered her choppy strands of hair nervously, "From Caemlyn."  They didn't need to know about her family, there was nothing to tell. They were all gone and she spent the last several

 years running and trying to survive. They were already eyeing her as if they expected her to say something more, but she quickly dropped back into her seat without another word.

 

After the last girl had introduced herself, the Accepted went on with the class. She explained why they should never channel without supervision and told them what would happen if they 

were caught. She even made them swear that they would never channel unsupervised. Afterwards, she continued the lesson by explaining what Saidar was and how it was actually only half 

of the One Power. The other half, Saidin, was the male half. The Accepted had wanted them to take notes, but Ariani was still new to writing and wasn't very good at it. She had always 

relied on her memory for important things like this. So she didn't actually take notes as she listened, but she did draw a very lifelike picture of one of the flowers that had grown on the farm 

back in Andor. 

 

Soon, the Accepted's voice grew very serious, and Ariani stopped drawing and paid closer attention. Aureli was explaining the method of actually embracing Saidar. This is what Ariani had 

been waiting for. If she could do this, then she would finally believe that she honestly could channel and that this wasn't some sort of joke.

 

Ariani closed her eyes and imagined a flower, the one that she had just drawn. Following the Accepted's smooth, hypnotic voice she felt the sun warm the petals of the flower, she was the flower. 

The flower began to open and the sun filled it. Ariani felt a wave of pure joy wash over her, everything that had ever been wrong was made right in that instant and she felt whole. It was better 

than being home again, than having her family back...than....

 

 

The Accepted had tapped her on the shoulder, signaling her to tone it down a little. Arani did so, reluctantly. She held on to the sweet ecstasy awhile longer before she finally let go. 

 

 I can do it! Burn me, if I can't! 

 

 

 

 

 

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Staring blankly at the crowd of white clad Novices, Ellisha leaned heavily against one of the corridor walls whilst trying hard to maintain the passively bored expression on her face. She glanced at the ornate clock set on one end of the hallway and allowed a frown to crease her forehead. Where could Venca possibly have gone to? Ellisha had barely met the woman past a single week and already she had witnessed her miss two classes and a round of chores. Ellisha shook her head slowly then directed the frown at the snowy white dress she was wearing. It shouldn’t have come as a shock when the Mistress of Novices told her to put on Novice White – which meant a dress – for her every day attire, but somehow it still did. She had never worn a dress before in her life and had so far been successful in evading attempts to put her in one – successful until now that is. All was not lost however – despite the dress she was now forced to wear, they had allowed her to keep the old leather belt she took into the Tower and had permitted her to wear it as part of her every day garb. Two white robbed Novices walked past her and snickered when they saw who she was; Ellisha favoured them with one of her infamous scowls. She did not get along well with ‘other’ women, and had nearly resorted to fists earlier in the day.

 

She gave the clock another quick glance and sighed. If Venca did not hurry up, she was going to be adding a third misadventure to her records – which meant a trip to see the Mistress of Novices.  The thought made her wince. For all her past assessments, she could never have imagined the woman who called herself the Mistress of Novices to be so fierce when dealing out Novice punishments. Her temper was as stiff as a board and fierce enough to send a Mountain Bear running up a tree for cover, and Ellisha had no wish to test the woman’s boundaries by earning herself a second visit. She had received the first when she had foolishly decided to tell a supervising Accepted she’d clean up her room later.

 

A black curly haired Accepted poked her head out from the classroom door and said, “Good morning girls, please take a seat” before returning inside. That was the call for the lesson to begin. Ellisha prayed Venca wasn’t too far off and walked inside along with the other White clad Novices. Once inside she walked towards the seat that was the furthest away from the front of the class room; only giving the Accepted’s missing arm the briefest of lingering looks before continuing on to take her seat. Missing arms were common amongst ship crews, and they often made up for their apparent disability by demonstrating incredible skills in other areas.

 

“It’s good to see everyone here on tim- ” she was interrupted by the appearance of a short black haired woman, who strode through the door just as she had started her sentence. The girl took a seat at the far left of the room and Ellisha saw the two exchange pleasant smiles; she couldn’t help roll her eyes at the two. The woman who had just entered, already looked to be one of those chatty annoying type – the ones Ellisha went out of her way to avoid. Their Accepted teacher picked up from where she had left off as if no interruption had transpired in between.

 

“I am Accepted Aureli, and I will be teaching you the basics of Saidar.” She said in a calm and even voice which carried across the length of the room. The woman had a smiling that was soothing and seemed to have put most of the other girls in the class at ease. “This is your first step to mastering Saidar and becoming Aes Sed-” she was interrupted once again when a red faced Venca ran into the room; by the looks of things the dark green eyed woman  had sprinted all the way from the kitchens. She slowed as she entered through the doorway, flushing slightly at the giggly stares some of the other Novices were giving in her direction. Her stands still dripping soap, she walked the length of the classroom aisle until she found a spot next to Ellisha. Her friend’s face was nearly a pure shade of crimson when she finally sat down in her seat.  

 

The Accepted cleared her throat and the class fell silent once more. “I will teach you about the nature of Saidar, how to embrace it, and just a sample of what you can do with it.” Ellisha leaned closer to her friend and roommate so as to not have to raise her voice above a whisper. “What kept you?” she asked, “You were lucky she didn’t call you out for being late again.” The woman’s face remained placid for the most part, and she kept it trained on the Accepted at the front of the classroom. Yet Ellisha thought she saw a slight tightening of the lips as the other women replied coolly. “I lost track of time, that’s all.”

 

Ellisha let out a snort for a response, though not loudly enough to turn heads or draw attention to the pair. “If only they made clocks which you could strap your wrist to.” She said chuckling, but got no further as the Accepted began to speak again.

 

“Now, I’d like everyone to introduce themselves, and say a bit about themselves before we move on. This will be helpful for all of us.” She started by pointing to the black haired girl to her left – the one which had walked in late and had smiled at her. The girl’s black curls bobbed slightly as she stood and turned to address both the teacher and the rest of the classroom. She waved as she began, and Ellisha instantly knew from the moment she opened her mouth that they had a clap trap. The girl spoke in a low mellow voice which may have been great for singing, but by the Light Ellisha couldn’t help but roll her eyes again.

 

“Hello everyone, I’m Ceridywn Taereth.” She began. “I’m from the foregate in Cairhien. My family runs an inn there, so needless to say, my knowledge of the one power is hmm, how to put this… somewhat limited.” She gave them all a preposterously silly grin, which earned her a scowl from the back of the room. “So if I’m struggling, be warned, I’m very likely to start trying to make conversations with those of you who are succeeding.” Some of the other Novices gave the weak joke a laugh, and that only seemed to have encouraged the woman further, as the grin never once slackened from her face. Ellisha kind of wished she could fail to embrace the source, just to deprive the woman of an excuse to talk to her. “In all seriousness though,” she continued. “I’m eager to make friends around here, so don’t hesitate to come and say hello.” Finishing up, she gave an even more sickening smile before sitting back down on her seat.  

 

Ellisha let out a sigh of relief as Mrs Windbag finally decided on peace, and the talking baton was passed on to the Novice beside her. The next woman to introduce herself was a small skinny Andorian, which held herself rather uncertainly at first but then seemed to steel herself and begin to speak. Her name was Nyanna – Nyanna al’Dyn from Andor as Ellisha had first predicated, and she said she had lived and survived in the woods - whatever that was supposed to mean. Despite the rather haggard appearance of the small woman, Ellisha could see she possessed agility, and would’ve been a prime candidate for a lookout aboard her vessel – if she still had her vessel.
“I’ve sat this class before because I had a block – but that’s been broken so I’m just as excited to learn to use Saidar now! Properly!”

 

So the woman – or perhaps girl really would be better to describe her, was what the Aes Sedai called ‘a Wilder’. Woman who had the ability in born were few and far in between, and most of seem to die or so Ellisha has heard. What did she mean when she said she had a block? Did she mean she had trouble embracing Saidar? Ellisha had already embraced the source before the class began – though more by accident than anything else.  

 

She had woken up one day and had intended to stretch her leg muscles under the warmth of the sun on the Tower lawn, when Saidar took hold of her. Much to the dismay of the Mistress of Novices, and some of her Novice neighbours, she later found out she had performed the Novice Rosebud exercise for embracing Saidar without even realising what she was doing. For an instance the warmth of the beaming sun had become something more – much more, as colours had swirled around her head and she felt suddenly  more vividly aware of her surroundings. Shock and the ecstasy of the source made her release its tender flows however, as she fell over backwards – head over shoulder – back down the hill. It had taken her nearly the whole afternoon to get the mud stains off her dress, not to mention a very sternly worded warning from Valeri Sedai telling her not to embrace the source again until after her proper introduction to Saidar. So she was forcing herself to take this class, despite her heavy reluctance to abide by any structure – just so she would be allowed to drink in that sweet nectar of life again.  The thought made her smile, and she realised she was humming to herself before she could stop it. What a shame it would have been to refuse to join the White Tower – to think she had almost refused the offer.

 

The invisible baton passed from Novice to Novice, and Ellisha listened with only half an ear open. It sounded to her like a constant stream of mop stories – one after the other - as if it had been some secrete initiate requirement to have dead or missing parents. Ellisha let out a yawn, which she quickly stifled with a hand, then suddenly noticing all the eyes on her – she realised it was finally her turn to speak.

 

She stood up from her seat, pushing the chair back with her legs as she coughed into a hand as if to disguise the earlier yawn. “Name’s uhh – Ellisha.” She began uncertainly; very much aware at some of the disapproving stares she was receiving from the woman closest to her who had witnessed her yawn. “Ellisha Falwein.” Burn the other women, she thought, why should she care what they all think? She pushed on, this time with a little more steel in her voice. She even managed a rueful smile, which did not reflect her nonexistent humour. “I came from Aringill, and was daughtered to a river trading vessel before I was told I could channel.” She gave Venca a sideways glance; the woman was as stone faced as ever, as she continued on. “I came here to learn the One Power, and all the other things that make someone Aes Sedai. So I won’t bother starting idle chatter, and I’ll probably have to ignore you if you try.” That should just about cover it, she thought as she sat down. Her grin widened as she could almost feel the hostile stares simmering in the room. Oh they all look so angry, and that one even looks disgusted! She beamed back at them as she felt Venca rise to give her own introductions.  

 

 

~Ellisha Falwein
Your residential White Tower Cynic.

Edited by Sherper

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The only sounds Venca could hear were the scratching sounds made by her brush as she scrubbed out all the pots in the kitchens again. Was it her fault that she kept getting sent to the kitchens? Well, probably but she couldn't help letting her mind wonder while she worked. Working on chores on the Farm Venca had found that the only way she could make it through the day was to focus completely on what she was doing and forget about the rest of the world until the job was done. Unfortunately, it seems that dirty dishes from this Aes Sedai, that Accepted, or light forbid the latest meal just keep flowing into the kitchens in a never ending cycle. The problem caused by this is that she had already missed two of her classes and a set of chores because she had lost track of time scrubbing away at the light blasted dirty dishes of the White Tower.

 

One would think that missing classes due to a chore would give you some leniency in punishment... that is until you meet the Mistress of Novices. That woman is insufferable! So what if she missed a class or a chore it wasn't like in the years to come she wouldn't have plenty of time to retake the classes or get around to the chore she had missed. Take the class for example, she had another one scheduled for later in the day. Continuing with scrubbing the pots, suds and water up to her elbows and dark fly away curls falling out of her pony tail, she glanced at the clock in the back of the kitchens. Freezing she slowly raised her gaze back to the clock. Oh light please let me have seen that time wrong, it couldn't possibly be that late already, I only have five minuets to get to class! Studying the clock for a few seconds she burst into movement throwing her brush back into the hot water she was using and bolting from the kitchens.    

 

Dark hair streaming behind her Venca was running for all she worth trying to make the class on time. Passing the few Aes Sedai in the halls she could feel disapproving stares on her as she bolted past them without even offering to try to curtsy for them. She didn't have the time, and the only thing they could do to her would be send her to that awful woman, who she would end up seeing if she missed this class. Gasping for breath, she started up the last staircase before the classroom before finally she could see the door that she needed. Seeing no one outside her heart dropped a bit realizing she was late after all, sending up a silent prayer to the creator Venca opened the door and went in.

 

"This is your first step to mastering Saidar and becoming Aes Sed-" Opening the door Venca stopped as the dark haired Accepted cut off mid sentence staring at her, and for the first time Venca took stock of how she must look to everyone. Soap suds still clinging her hands, her damp Novice dress clinging to her, and her unruly hair sticking out in every direction imaginable. Venca after a few seconds realized she was just standing there getting stared at, blushed causing her already red face to become so red and hot with embarrassment she was surprised to find her dress was even still damp! 

 

Making her way to the back of the classroom, to one of the only seats left in the class, she spotted Ellisha and taking the seat directly next to the brown haired woman who was her new roommate, and grudgingly, her friend. As she sat down the rest of the class turned around to once again focus on the Accepted teaching, allowing Venca a moment to sigh and collect herself. She hated being the center of attention, she preferred being in the background just watching as people went by. In her fantasy no on ever seemed to see her, but of course being late for class rather pulls the attention to ones self

The Accepted cleared her throat pulling Venca out of her fantasy and back into the classroom as she started speaking again.“I will teach you about the nature of Saidar, how to embrace it, and just a sample of what you can do with it.” 

 

Out of the corner of her eye Venca seen Ellisha lean slightly closer to her and whispered.  “What kept you?” she asked, “You were lucky she didn't call you out for being late again.” Venca kept her face calm with effort, and without even looking away from the Accepted she answered.  “I lost track of time, that’s all.” Venca's eyes narrowed as she seen Ellisha smirk at her and begin talking again.  “If only they made clocks which you could strap your wrist to.”

 

Emerald eyes flashing Venca finally turned her head to pin Ellisha with a dagger like stare, the only thing she got for her trouble was the classic chuckle she had become -very- familiar with over the past week. Taking a breath to quietly berate her roommate, she didn't even get the first word out as Accepted began talking again. “Now, I’d like everyone to introduce themselves, and say a bit about themselves before we move on. This will be helpful for all of us.” Venca closed her eyes and took a deep breath as she realized she was going to have to talk to ll thee people she didn't know. To say this was going to be her least favorite part of the class would be a colossal understatement.

 

Venca's eyes flew open as a black haired girl in the front of the class started to speak. “Hello everyone, I’m Ceridywn Taereth.” She began. “I’m from the foregate in Cairhien. My family runs an inn there, so needless to say, my knowledge of the one power is hmm, how to put this… somewhat limited.” Seeing the grin plastered on the silly girls face, Venca smirked and glanced at Ellisha in time to see the woman glare at Ceridywn before she started speaking again. “So if I’m struggling, be warned, I’m very likely to start trying to make conversations with those of you who are succeeding.” Venca settled back into her seat, readying herself to enjoy seeing Ellisha's reactions.

 

The introductions continued around the room, all the while the well placed scowls and yawns from Ellisha was making it hard for Venca to pay much attention. Only enough to file away any information about these girls that might prove useful in the future. Finally it was Ellisha's turn and she had been so studiously ignoring the last few girls that she didn't even notice everyone stareing at her. Venca smirked as he seen Ellisha give a slight yawn, so small most people would have missed it had they not know what they were looking for, before she stood and addressed the class.

 “Name’s uhh – Ellisha.”  Hearing the uncertainty in Ellisha's voice Venca looked around the room, noticing the unfriendly looks the other girls were giving her friend. In a flash her smirk vanished and was replaced by a stony face while she studied each of the girls as Ellisha continued. “Ellisha Falwein, I came from Aringill, and was daughtered to a river trading vessel before I was told I could channel. I came here to learn the One Power, and all the other things that make someone Aes Sedai. So I won’t bother starting idle chatter, and I’ll probably have to ignore you if you try.” Judging by the reactions from the rest of the class to Ellisha's rather pointed speech, she had just made quite a few enemies. Something else for Venca to watch out for in the halls of the Tower.

 

After Ellisha sat down, Venca took a moment to gather herself inwardly before standing and addressing the class. "My name is Venca Konora. I was raised in Andor for most of my life before I started traveling and ended up in Tar Valon." As she began talking her speech speed up so much as to make it almost incoherent. Not to mention that her face was slowing returning to the crimson shade that it was at the start of class. Light but did she hate talking to groups of people, why couldn't she just watch! "Soon I found myself in the Tower being tested and here we are." After she finished Venca sat down so fast she almost missed her chair, causing her already crimson face to somehow get even darker with embarrassment as she sat there not even daring to look at anyone.

 

Venca Konora

Embarrassed to the point of death.

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Ellisha blew a low whistle to herself. If there ever was a colour deeper than crimson, then it would be the exact shade of her friend’s face at that moment.  Venca was practically dying of embarrassment as she shrank back down into her chair – nearly missing it completely in her haste. Her friend had never liked talking to people directly, and was as shy as a dove when put under the spot light. Though now she thought about it, Ellisha supposed she herself wasn’t particularly fond of speaking in front of large audiences either. Yet at least she had her tempers to fall back to – whilst Venca did not. She gave the other woman a gentle pat on the back - attempting to give comfort yet acutely aware of the awkwardness of her hand movements.  The Accepted began speaking again.

 

“Very good.” She said, still with that smile on her face.  “As some of you may know, the basics of any subject are always the most important ones.” The woman moved on with her lesson – laying down ground rules for the class on the use of Saidar and its elemental properties. “You must never… Never – Channel without the supervision of an Aes Sedai or Accepted.” Her ears caught, but  Ellisha’s mind was already floating elsewhere. She has heard the warning a thousand times before, and it did not grow any more exciting with each retelling. “You will feel temptation to experience this all the time. But you must not without supervision.”

 

On and on the Accepted went, as Ellisha listened and fought hard the urge to yawn again. “I will never channel unsupervised.” She drawled, in the dullest monotone she could manage when the Accepted dictated them to repeat after her; and watched as stern determined faces did the same – only without the likes of her drawl.

 

“Well done. Please take out your pen and parchment. You will need to take notes now.”

 

She reached into her satchel, which she had pushed to one side as soon as she sat down in the room, and took out a small bottle of ink, a pen and a loose collection of paper parchments. Though writing was not her strong suit, Ellisha had learned the importance of book keeping when she had been part of the river trade down at Aringill.  Precise records can be just as useful – and perhaps even more so – than knowing the latest rumours or best trade routes. Tariff men are a lot less certain whether you’re evading payments, when you can confidently shove a neatly kept book in their face. Shifting herself more comfortably in her seat, she tapped the end of the quill against the edge of the table, as she waited for all the other Novices to get ready.   

 

Their teacher moved towards the blackboard at the front of the classroom and retrieved a piece of chalk. She then drew a large circle with a single squiggly line down the middle separating it into two halves; colouring in one half completely with the white of her chalk.

“The One Power is made up of two halves: Saidar and Saidin. Saidar is the female half.” She explained, pointing to the shaded bit of the circle. “We as women channelers embrace Saidar.” She then pointed to the non-shaded section. “Saidin is the male half. Men channel Saidin, and the emblem of that is the Dragon’s Fang.” Half the classroom gasped, as if this was fresh news to them. Ellisha calmly wrote on her piece of parchment: “Saidar – good. Saidin – Bad. Men crazy – stay away.”

 

“Saidar and Saidin are two halves of a whole. They have two different natures, but neither of them is wholly evil or wholly good.”

 

The Accepted then explained about why Saidar might be viewed as evil. Although it was not corrupt itself – Saidar carried the dark one’s taint, which drove all male channelers insane sooner or later – making them do otherwise unthinkable things. She scribbled a footnote under the stuff the Accepted had already said, “Consult residential Red Ajah if ever see crazy male channeler.”  That was the true purpose of the Red afterall, from what Ellisha had been able to gather. By gentling every single man who can channel, the Reds hope to prevent a second breaking of the world. And by the signs – Ellisha supposed they had so far been successful on that front. Ellisha didn’t think she will be choosing the Red Ajah though – she did admire the Ajah’s temper and lack of facades – but the prospect of being limited to hunting down male channelers all her life felt a little too restraining.

 

“Saidar is pure, without the Taint. We do not fall prey to any madness when we use Saidar. We must surrender to Saidar to understand it and use it.”

 

The Accepted walked over to the front of the classroom, and wrote the words: Fire, Water, Air and spirit on the board. The five elements of the One Power.

 

“Women are usually strongest in Air or Water, whilst men seem to have talents in Earth and Fire. Spirit is evenly split with no preference.” That was interesting, Ellisha thought. She supposed it goes without saying that men and women were fundamentally different from one another – and it seemed that also applied in terms of the One Power. She scribbled down some notes on the matter; adding in a reminder to herself to look into the subject later if she found the time – which she expected she probably wouldn’t.  

 

“Now for the moment you’ve all be waiting for.” the Accepted said, after she saw everyone had finished making their notes. “Please put your parchment away. We will now embrace Saidar.” An eager buzz rippled across the room, as writing equipment were stowed away and beaming eyes were trained on the Teaching Accepted once more. The woman moved forward a step, and told them all to close their eyes. Anticipation practically hummed inside her body, as Ellisha obeyed and closed her own. Oh to feel Saidar, to feel that sweet liquid engulf her in life giving-

 

She felt the source flow into her, just as the Accepted began to say; “As the rosebud’s petals open, you begin to feel the warmth and light of the sun.” Ellisha did feel the sun – oh yes, she did! It was like a cool river running down her back, yet it also felt like a blanket surrounding her - trapping her warmth so she could feel safe and secure inside. Her vision seemed to sparkle – the world grew… brighter, and everything seemed to be dancing with joy.  For the first time – she felt alive. Alive! Grinning, she turned her head and saw Vanca was holding the source too. A look of pure ecstasy shone on her face, her deep green eyes open as wide as they would go as if she was in shock – yet the light of Saidar never faded or slipped from her grasp.

 

She had been told to surrender to the source – to let it wash over her, and Ellisha was contempt with doing just that. A river – an immense river which was calm on the surface – yet held unfathomable power just below it. That was the source for her.  She saw herself as a ship in that river; leaning against the tiller of her vessel, she guided the current and her ship to whatever direction Saidar took her. She was free, she could do anything she wished – went anywhere she wanted.

 

 All too soon however, she was instructed to release the source as the black haired Accepted gave the order they had all been dreading. The light of Saidar blinked out of her, as did most of the others in the room, though a few girls held on for just a moment more before reluctantly following suit. No one was eager to release the source; the power really did make you feel alive – and without it – everything just seemed dull. Oh well - she mused, she’ll get her chance to embrace it again soon enough. Though perhaps not in her room, as they’d probably be expecting that.

 

“We will continue in the next class. And just a reminder… remember – Don’t channel even just reaching out to touch it without supervision.” The Accepted said finally as she was dismissing the class. “Yes mother,” Ellisha mouthed, as she got up to leave the room. Vanca was a bit slower to pack up, so Ellisha waited for her friend outside in the corridor. Maybe not in her bedroom, she thought. But perhaps in one of the gardens where there was a good view distance, and where she’d be able to see anyone coming long before they got close enough to see the glow of Saidar surrounding her. At that moment Vanca hurried out, and Ellisha found herself walking beside the woman as the two made their way back to their Novice quarters.

 

 

~Ellisha Falwein
Residential troublemaker  

Edited by Sherper

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Feeling the awkward pat on her back, Venca gave Ellisha a look of a gratitude before finally braving looking around the room. The first thing she noticed was that all the hostile looks Ellisha had been getting were now pointed at the two of them. Sometime being friends with someone like Ellisha had its draw backs, no matter how much she tried to not get noticed somehow being near Ellisha seemed to get her more notice than ever! Sighing inwardly, Venca chanced a glance at Ellisha to see if she had noticed what had happened, but as usual she seemed to be oblivious to the things that were happening around her.

 

The voice of the Accepted snapped Venca out of her thoughts as she began speaking again and Venca allowed all of her attention to become focused on the Accepted. Finally the reason she had come to this class was here at last. "Very good. Let's continue. Now, as some of you may know, the basics of any subject are always the most important. You must know how something works and what it can do before you can move forward to master it. Therefore, this class will be the most important one that you will ever take while at the Tower." She paused before she continued. "Now, this next part may be a bit hard for some of you to take, but please keep these warnings in mind. They may save your life one day."  

 

Hearing the warning Venca looked at Ellisha to see, of course, that her mind was already elsewhere and once again it was up to Venca to remember the warnings and keep Ellisha at least from killing herself. The woman, as good a friend as she was starting to become to Venca, had a habit of causing way to much attention to be called to the pair of them just because she didn't know how pay attention. Rolling her eyes Venca returned her attention the Accepted as she outlined the more specific things the power would do to you while you held it. Having already heard all of this from Ellisha, because of her trip to the Mistress of Novices the other day, Venca started to get impatient hearing the same information again. She was all for learning new things, but the same thing over and over again was annoying.

 

When Aureli finally got to the bit where she asked them to repeat after her, Venca gladly said, "I will never channel unsupervised." Rolling her eyes once again in Ellisha's direction as she heard the tone with which she had used, Venca smiled a bit. Sometimes the woman being so cynical was entertaining... as long as no one noticed Venca by her side that is.  

 

"Well done. Please take out your pen and parchment. You will need to take notes now." Hearing the Accepted start speking again Venca froze. She had had to run directly from the kitchens to get here even remotely on time. She had no parchment or pen. Looking at Ellisha Venca seen her push her bag closer Venca with a nod in its direction. With a grateful smile Venca searched inside and found some extra ink, pen, and parchment before settling in to take notes. 

 

Having a pen and parchment in front of her again reminded Venca of all the hours spent with Lasher in his office painstakingly teaching her how to read and write. As he always said, "A messenger who couldn't read was like a merchant who couldn't count." Venca smiled to her self as she felt the sting of loss as she thought her dark haired employer. She tried to not think about him as much as possible since she had come here. The memories of him were so bittersweet and confusing for her. It was just better to not think about it.

 

Their teacher moved towards the blackboard at the front of the classroom and retrieved a piece of chalk. She then drew a large circle with a single squiggly line down the middle separating it into two halves; colouring in one half completely with the white of her chalk.

“The One Power is made up of two halves: Saidar and Saidin. Saidar is the female half.” She explained, pointing to the shaded bit of the circle. “We as women channelers embrace Saidar.” She then pointed to the non-shaded section. “Saidin is the male half. Men channel Saidin, and the emblem of that is the Dragon’s Fang.”  Hearing a good half of the class gasp when the dragon fang was mentioned made Venca glad she had spent plenty of time in Tar Valon so that this particular message was not new to her. Living in Tar Valon one could not help but to pick up small bits of knowledge here and there of the One Power, espcially in her line of work. 

 

“Saidar and Saidin are two halves of a whole. They have two different natures, but neither of them is wholly evil or wholly good.” Nodding to herself Venca carefully wrote word for word as the the Accepted talked, thinking to herself that the same thing could be said of people in general.  Continuing on with her explanation Venca was glad to hear some new information, like that the taint came from the when the male Aes Sedai tried to seal the Dark One. Honestly this was all very interesting to her.

 

"Saidar is pure, without any taint. We do not fall prey to any madness when we use Saidar. We must surrender to Saidar to understand it and use it." She went to the board again. "The Five Powers of the One Power are Fire, Water, Earth, Air, and Spirit." She wrote each of the Five Powers on the board as they were mentioned. "Women are usually strongest in Air or Water while men seem to have talents in Earth and Fire. Spirit is evenly split with no preference. Likely, you will find that you can channel one or two of the Powers more easily than others, but as your studies progress, you will be using more than one of the Powers in one weave."

 

Finishing up with her notes, Venca re-read what she had written just to completely commit it to memory. Once again a trick she learned as a messenger when their... shall we say associates, thought it inconvenient to have something written down. "Now for the moment you've all been waiting for. Please put your parchments away. We will now embrace Saidar."

 

Venca's head snapped up at this and her heart rate increased slightly. She was excited about this part of the class after Ellisha had told her what it felt like, however briefly that it may have been. "Close your eyes" Had Venca not know that it was the same girl that had been teaching the entire class, she could have been fooled by the complete change in tone as she obeyed and closed her eyes. Imagining the rose bud was rather easy for her. She liked to spend some of her free time in the gardens, no one around there usually to notice her.

 

Hearing the Accepted's now soothing voice, Venca imagined sunlight warming the rose bud slightly teasing it and causing the petals to slowly open, wanting more of the warmth. Suddenly Venca gasped and her eyes flew open as she felt the sweet power of Saidar flow into her. The whole world seemed to come alive around her, the smell of the soap she had been using in the kitchens, the feel of her dress resting on her skin. It really was like she had never been alive before! 

 

Looking over at Ellisha she could see the glow of Saidar around her roommate as well as the look of pure ecstasy she knew much be on her own face. Smiling she closed her eyes just enjoying the feeling of holding Saidar. After what Venca thought was a painfully short period of time, the Accepted broke into her thoughts. "Wonderful," she said.  "Everyone did wonderfully today.  Release Saidar now.  We will continue in the next class.  And just a reminder...remember, don't channel, even just reaching out to touch it without supervision from an Accepted or an Aes Sedai." Sighing Venca held onto the Source just a bit longer than strictly necessary before letting it flow out of her. The world returning to 'normal' was slightly depressing, but she knew she would feel that bliss again soon!

 

Looking to speak to Ellisha as she came out of her thoughts, Venca realized she had let her thoughts wander and everyone had already left except the Accepted. Hurrying to get out of the room, she didn't even notice that Ellisha had waited on her until she stepped up next to her as she turned in the direction of the Novice quarters.  Looking at Ellisha the depression she had felt after holding Saidar so briefly floated away as she started talking to her friend. "I know you told me that the feeling was wonderful and unlike anything you had ever experienced, but it was more than that." Falling silent as she tried to get the words she wanted to come to lips, Ellisha spoke into the silence.

 

"One of these days you will start believing me when I say I can't really explain how good something is." Venca looked over to see a playful smile appear on Ellisha's face and they both laughed for a second Venca bumping her shoulder into Ellisha before saying. "Oh yea? One of these days you might actually pay attention to class!" Laughing again Venca was just glad to have found a friend with whom she could talk to.

 

These types of relationships were rare for her. The only other friend she had had that she trusted had been Lasher. Sure there people she had been forced to trust and pretend to like to keep herself safe, but true friendship, that was rare. That is not to say she trusted Ellisha as much as she once did Lasher, but the start of friendship was definitely there. 

 

The friendly banter continued until at last they rounded the corner and found their room. Venca entered first and went to her bed, the one against wall as far away from the door as she could get it, and threw herself down. "My body hates me these days, I never feel like I get enough sleep, and then today when I had to run from one end of the Tower to the other." Pausing Venca sighed before continuing. "How is it that you always seem so rested all the time?" 

 

Closing her eyes, Venca heard Ellisha sit down on her own bed before responding. "You do realize what it means to grow up in the river trade right?" Venca allowed a small smirk to play on her face as she heard the sarcastic tone to her friends voice. "I was always up with the sun and worked until after dark with my brothers. Not getting sleep, I guess you could say it was a way of life for me."  

Rolling onto her side Venca opened her eyes and looked at the other woman. "Yea I understand that, I was always  up early as well running all over the city. I guess I had been used to that and not the work I used to do." Venca fell silent and rolled onto her back. She hadn't talked to Elli about her time on the Farm yet. That was a subject she didn't want to get into and she had almost gone that that road accidentally. She was getting much to comfortable around her new roommate.

 

"What work did you used to do?" Venca could hear the question in Elli's voice but she just rolled over to face the wall before answering. "Somethings Ellli i'm just not ready to talk about, and i'm tired I think that i will try to go to sleep." Venca felt bad about how she had handled that, but somethings were just to personal for her to talk about with anyone. She could feel the silence thicken and she closed her eyes yet again and tried to force herself to fall asleep.

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 Nateera walked as quickly as she could without running. She didn't want to be late for her first class. Hopeful, she rounded the corner and saw her classmates standing in the corridor. A moment or two later, the Accepted who was teaching the class opened the door and told them to come in. She entered and took a seat near the middle of the room.

 

Standing up, Aureli addressed her class. "It's good to see everyone here on time. I am Accepted Aureli, and I will be teaching you this course on the basics of Saidar." She seemed to have everyone's attention. Good. "This is your first step to mastering Saidar and becoming Aes Sedai. I will teach you about the nature of Saidar, how to embrace it, and just a sample of what you can do with it." She stopped in the middle of the front of the room. "Now, I'd like everyone to introduce themselves, and say a bit about themselves before we move on. This will be helpful for all of us." She chose the novice seated to her left at the front corner of the class to begin. She watched and listened as every one of her students stood up and introduced themselves.  

 

Nateera listened to several girls introductions before standing to give her own. 

"My name is Nateera Raychon. I am from Woodburn in Saldaea. I am the eldest daughter of the innkeeper. I did not want to be confined to an innkeeper's life, so, at age sixteen I left home to see the world. In the last city that I visited an Aes Sedai spotted me and told me she thought I could learn to channel if I wanted to. I said yes and here I am."

 

She sat back down. "I will NEVER channel without the supervision of an Accepted or an Aes Sedai," she promised along with the other novices.

 

Why not channel? she wondered. 

 

When the Accepted instructed them to take out parchment and pen for note taking, Nateera eagerly did so. As the lesson continued. she wrote down everything that was said so as not to forget. She had a momentary chill of fear when Saidin was discussed. The subject of Saidar gave her a thril

 

Aureli waited for the girls to finish writing. When she saw that everyone was ready to move on, she walked in front of the teacher's desk to address them again. "Now for the moment you've all been waiting for. Please put your parchments away. We will now embrace Saidar." Once every desk was clear, she began to instruct them.

"Close your eyes," she said, using a calm, soothing voice rather than the strong, confident tone she had been using. Once all the girls had their eyes closed, she continued. "Imagine a rosebud. Think of nothing else but this rosebud." She spoke slowly as she wove through the class, trying to give her voice a hypnotic quality. "In fact, I want you to become this rosebud. You are the rosebud. Don't think of anything but this rosebud, its petals gently embracing you. You can feel the sun just outside of these petals, but not quite. As the rosebud's petals open, you begin to feel the warmth and light of the sun. Draw that warmth in."

 

As she imagined the rosebud, Nateera saw it blossom and felt the warmth of the sun falling on it. It felt so good that she nearly cried out in joy.

 

 

 "Wonderful," she said.  "Everyone did wonderfully today.  Release Saidar now.  We will continue in the next class.  And just a reminder...remember, don't channel, even just reaching out to touch it without supervision from an Accepted or an Aes Sedai."  She looked around, and once everyone had winked out, she dismissed class.

 

Nateera did not want to release Saidar , but she did as she was told. She wanted to hold on forever, but remembered the warning that Accepted Aureli had given them. She could hardly wait for her next lesson in Saidar.

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I cannot be late! Not for my first lesson!

 

Leaving the Novice Quarters in a flurry, Kastyana moved at a near run down the corridor her new roommate had suggested she follow. She barely noticed the snickers from an older group of white-clothed girls as she hurriedly fixed her hair. Coming about a corner at the end of the long corridor Kastyana found herself face to face with an elderly woman. Surprisingly, at least to the young novice, the old lady merely laughed.

 

“Had I been an Aes Sedai, you may have found yourself with the Mistress of Novice after your classes.”

 

Kastyana quickly apologized and began to continue her journey in earnest but was hindered as the older woman grasped her by the sleeve of her new white uniform.

 

By your looks, and the lack of callus on these pretty hands, you’re new to the Tower.” Kastyana merely stared at the floor. “Well speak up, aren’t you girl?”

 

 “Yes ma’am”, attempting to shrug off the assailants hand she took on an exasperated tone. “But I really must be going, I am to learn all about the One Power and I really must not be late.” The elderly hand did not slacken its grasp.

 

Late? My dear, the morning meal is not yet finished and I have only just come from overseeing the cleaning of the classroom to which you are headed. Surely you have some time.” She released her hold on the novice’s sleeve and gave her a warm smile. “I have some time to spare and you seem overly nervous, even for your first day. Do you mind if I escort you, at a moderate pace, to your first class?

 

Blushing, Kastyana took a deep breath and nodded in agreement.

 

After navigating the corridors for brief time the duo stopped at an open door that led into a large beautiful classroom. I am early! There was not a person in site.

 

Well, here you are my girl. Early and probably lacking in a good meal, but here you are. Your teacher ought to be around in a bit. You might even surprise her with your early arrival.” Smiling at the novice she waved farewell and disappeared down the long white hallway.

 

Sure enough, not but a few minutes passed before a short woman, wearing the dress of an Accepted, entered the classroom. Noticing the Accepted’s missing arm Kastyana was quick to avert her eyes. Wouldn’t want to appear rude. What if she made me scrub floors?

It wasn’t long before other novices began crowding around the classroom door, her roommate Ellisha amongst them.

 

“Good morning girls, please take a seat” came a voice from the open doorway.

 

Kastyana ventured inside and took a seat as instructed. Looking up from her seat she affixed her eyes on her teacher. Is that smile on her face genuine? She must notice the other girls looking at her deformity. The Accepted stood up and began to address the class.

 

"It's good to see everyone here on time. I am Accepted Aureli, and I will be teaching you this course on the basics of Saidar. This is your first step to mastering Saidar and becoming Aes Sedai. I will teach you about the nature of Saidar, how to embrace it, and just a sample of what you can do with it. Now, I'd like everyone to introduce themselves, and say a bit about themselves before we move on. This will be helpful for all of us."

 

After listening to the other introduce themselves, Kastyana stood up and began her introductions.

 

“Hello, my name is Kastyana Amharadar. I hail from Far Madding and my mother is an accomplished merchant of the gold trade.”

 

After the introductions were complete the Accepted began to lecture the class on the basics of Saidar. Who knew that something unseen could be so dangerous? Kastyana began to understand why so many of her kinsmen enjoyed the protection her hometown had afforded. But soon I will be able to use this unseen power. Will I ever be welcome home again?

 

"So. Repeat after me. 'I will never channel unsupervised.'”

 

In a daze, Kastyana consented, “I will never channel unsupervised.”

 

Taking out a pen and a piece of parchment, Kastyana began to take notes. The One Power is a circle, oh light, don’t draw a circle. As the teacher began to speak about the Dragon’s Fang and male channelers Kastyana struggled to hide a smirk as several of the other girls gasped. We never feared men who could channel in Far Madding. They might as well be househusbands when they walk through our gates, and we take away their swords. Hah! Several pages of parchments later, the Accepted, Aureli, instructed them to put away all pens and notes.

 

Are we done already? Did I not pay close attention? Did I miss something? Looking up from her paper she noticed the Accepted had moved forward yet again to approach the students. Some appeared to be readying themselves to leave. One student in particular, a wilder, sat back in her chair as if mentally prepared for some strenuous exercise.

 

Close your eyes.” The teacher’s voice took on an odd quality and Kastyana began to feel strangely relaxed.

 

"Imagine a rosebud. Think of nothing else but this rosebud."  Kastyana imagined a rosebud. A beautiful rosebud, dusty pink with light blue streaks at the tips of the individual petals. "In fact, I want you to become this rosebud. You are the rosebud. Don't think of anything but this rosebud, its petals gently embracing you. You can feel the sun just outside of these petals, but not quite. As the rosebud's petals open, you begin to feel the warmth and light of the sun. Draw that warmth in."

 

It started slowly, like the warmth of a furnace from a far distance away. Draw it in Kasty, draw it in. Saidar flooded her, the feeling of it catching her breath. She could see every hair on the head of the novice in front of her. The drawn breaths of the other girls were clear in her ear. The look of happiness on her teacher’s face was glorious. The sound of her heartbeat was clear to her, the smells, the ability to concentrate. A plethora of sensations threatened to pull her under but at the same time she felt peace. Why was I so worried? This isn’t so hard… and abruptly the Power left her. She felt muted, as if her eyes, ears and nostril were covered by a wet cloth.

 

Grinning from ear to ear Kastyana was glad she had come; she was glad she had decided to make the White Tower her home.

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Myrrhi had hurried as much as it had been possible to, to be the first one in the classroom. She had wanted to show how motivated she was to learn about the One Power to the Accepted who would be her teacher that day. But even with her best efforts, she had only arrived third. She had to bit her lips in disappointment, as she had really thought she had done everything in her power, after having finished her morning chores, to be there first. She had even run like a farm girl into the corridors of the White Tower, barely giving attention to the people surrounding her.

 

Myrrhi had kept mostly to herself since her arrival and hadn't really managed to make friends amongst the other girls of her age. Here again, she decided to stay silent till the arrival of the teacher and to play with the folds of her dress instead of starting a conversation with the two other girls who had arrived before her. They were looking like they were good friends already, holding their heads close to each other. And Myrrhi didn’t really have the courage to interrupt them chatting.

 

Waiting near the door, she felt very happy when she saw, a few minutes after her arrival, an Accepted entering the classroom.

 

- Good morning, girls. Please take a seat, she said, before sitting down at the teacher's desk. Myrrhi looked at the woman and found her pretty, but when she noticed her missing arm she blushed and tried to look away. It was hard though, and, every two seconds, her eyes were pulled again on the class teacher.

 

- It's good to see everyone here on time. I am Accepted Aureli, ... The words of the Accepted were lost for Myrrhi, who was feeling very embarrassed to have blushed. Surely Aureli would not try to punish a poor novice for blushing, would she? Again Myrrhi bit her lips and tried to concentrate on the lesson. Unfortunately, this didn’t help her feel better. Seeing that all the Novices would have to take their turn talking about themselves in front of the classroom, Myrrhi began panicking. What could she say? What was she supposed to say? She tried to see if what the other girls mentioned could apply to herself and when she noticed it wasn’t the case, she scribbled a couple of words on her parchment to help her find ideas. When it was her turn to talk though, her mouth went dry and her mind blank.

 

- I am Myrrhi Morrigen, said Myrrhi very hesitantly after a while. I come from A.. Andor. I .. I have three sisters and I was living with my Mother when a brown Sister Deana Sedai saw that I could learn to channel. Deana Sedai told me a lot of stories and about history. I .. can also cook and use needles, she added defiantly when she heard some of the other novices laugh at what she was saying. She hesitated about adding a couple more interesting facts about her short life, but seeing the wide smiles on some of the other Novices’ faces, she decided to sit back as soon as she had given enough information to please the teacher.

When everyone was done, Aureli added a few words about Saidar and why it was forbidden for the Novices to channel without supervision. Everyone was asked to repeat that they would never channel without being supervised. Myrrhi said it two times, very proudly and loudly. Hoping it would impress her teacher.

 

 

The next part of the lesson was about the differences between Saidin and Saidar and the elements. When the lesson came to the topic of men channeling, Myrrhi sighed sadly thinking about how romantic it would be to save one of those men who could channel and keep him safe from insanity with the power of love only.

 

Suddenly, Aureli asked at one point everyone to empty their desk. Myrrhi hurried to put her parchment away, very obediently.

 

Smiling, the Accepted told the Novices they would embrace Saidar that day and explained to the class how to channel. This would be Myrrhi’s first time and she became very excited at the idea of being able to channel to power at last. She closed her eyes, like she was asked, and thought herself a rosebud. She began to feel its petal, the sun, its warmth and its light on her. She drew the warmth and the light in just like Aureli said and slowly she began to feel the Power. She lost its embrace once or twice but it didn't really matter. Each time she manage to touch and embrace Saidar again.

Edited by Hayl3y

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Thayetta sat in silence on the floor next to the classroom door. In her white-robed lap she calmly held an open treasure - a small leather-bound book, filled with words from stories she had never read before. Enchanted, her eyes poured over every sentence, pages flicked quickly, one-by-one through her tiny hands. She was glad she had found the library, and that the Sedai inside - a Brown - had been happy to loan her books to read. Having a book in her hand was a habit old enough to be both familiar and calming on her nerves, and having a new book in her hands was a good enough excuse to not have to look around at the other girls. Absently, she tucked a strand of her light brown bob behind her ear, effectively removing the curtain of hair that had been hiding her face from the world.

 

"Good morning, girls. Please take a seat," The new voice stirred Thayett out of her contemplation of 'Memoirs of a Brown' and she shut the pages hurriedly, her brain automatically filing the part she was up to away for future reference. A woman stood in the doorway momentarily. The bands at the bottom of her dress, flowing next to Thayett's knee, marked her as Accepted. The woman left the doorway, presumably to return to her seat. Girls with plain white dresses all the way to the hems began filing through the doorway, a steady mass of white to a soundtrack of quite shuffles and giggles and nervous whispers. Thayetta stayed where she was until the last of them slipped through the door, and then she stood and entered the room herself.

 

The Accepted who had spoken sat at the front of the room, her banded dress a stark contrast with her dark hair, tanned skin and... single arm. Thayett did her best not to stare and instead took notice of the layout of the room around her. Everything was perfectly aligned and decidedly square. Thayetta smiled, it was so much easier to walk with your head ducked down when things were square. She found a seat out of the way and slipped into it, offering a shy smile to the girl beside her. The girl didn't seem to notice. Thayetta sighed inwardly with relief. 

 

The teacher stood and addressed the class, introducing them to the content they would be covering, and to herself. Accepted Aureli, Thayett filed the name and voice away. She listened to every one of the girls before her, sneaking looks just long enough at each Novice to file away a face with the sound of each of their names. Ceridywn Taereth, Cairhien; Nyanna al'Dyn, Andor; Hallia Shessair, Kandor; Kira Tuvunenia, Ebou Dar; Ariani Cairawyn, Caemlyn; Ellisha ... Falwein, Aringill; Venca Konora, Andor; Nateera Raychon, Saldea; Kastyana Amharadar, Far Madding... The personalities were varied, but there seemed to be a lot of daughters from fathers with inns. Thayetta kept her head down, gripping her skirt tighter and tighter as her turn approached.

 

 "I am Myrrhi Morrigen," the girl beside Thayetta spoke. "I come from A..Andor."

 

Another girl from Andor. The novice spouted some more facts about her home and family and finding; Thayetta heard nothing but the mention of cooking and needles, and then it was her turn.

 

"Thayetta Luin, Four Kings, Andor." She spoke quietly, tucking her hair behind her ear again as she sat down. The girl - Myrrhi - looked at her, but Thayett wasn't about to say more, she offered the girl another fleeting, shy and tiny smile and folded her hands calmly back into her lap.

 

 

"Very good. Let's continue..." Accepted Aureli began the lecture, starting with a warning not to ever channel without supervision. "...Do I make myself clear?"

 

 

"Yes, Accepted," Thayett mumbled a slightly frightened response. She hadn't known that Novices could be put out of the Tower, or worse, killed. She also hadn't known that Saidar was addictive. "I will never channel unsupervised," she repeated the mantra as instructed, twice.

 

Thayetta listened keenly to the rest of the lesson's introduction, practically devouring every bit of information the Accepted Aureli decided to share. Talking in front of others may not have been one of Thayett's greatest strengths, but listening and learning certainly were. For her, the content was all new, save what Madelaina Sedai had taught her on the journey from Four Kings; her parents had never allowed her to learn or read about Aes Sedai or the One Power. The thought of her parents brought a brief pang to Thayetta's heart, but she steeled herself against it, reminding herself that there was learning to do here, and after that; a library. 

 

One Power, drives Creation; Saidar, Saidin; whole. Flame of Tar Valon, Dragon's Fang; whole - Balance - realised the girl.

Saidar pure, Saidin taint. Danger.

Five Powers of the One Power. Fire. Water. Earth. Air. Spirit.

 

Thayett filed the facts away, writing so the words would stick in her brain for reference later.

 

Before she knew it the theory of the lesson was done for the day and they were moving onto actual practice. Despite her shyness, and the nervousness the Accepted had induced with her earlier warning, Thayetta found herself deeply keen to try. She wanted to touch the Source.

 

 

"Close your eyes," the Accepted instructed calmly. "Imagine a rosebud. Think of nothing else but this rosebud. In fact, I want you to become this rosebud. You are the rosebud."

 

Thayett imagined a rosebud, white and pure, unblemished. She tried to empty her mind of all the noise around her, filtering out the world they way she did when she wanted to be alone to read. She imagined herself a rosebud, or rather, she saw herself with the tiny rosebud embedded in her heart. The whiteness of it surrounded her, filled her from the core.

 

"Don't think about anything but this rosebud... you can feel the sun just outside of these petals..."

 

Thayetta imagined the sun, reaching for the bud at her heart, the flower yearning for the light and warmth. She drew the warmth in. Hotter, closer, warmer. She opened herself to the Sun and warmth. Hotter, closer, warmer... 

 

Suddenly, the little bud bloomed and burst alight in her mind; a little ball of flower-shaped flame. Thayett opened her eyes. She was alive. The warmth from her flame flower spread through her quickly, from the tips of her toes, she felt, to the ends of her hair. Colours were brighter, sounds were sharper, nerves and fear were lighter. She felt calm, and strong. She felt good. She wanted to feel like this forever.

 

"Wonderful, Everyone did wonderfully today." Thayett smiled at the praise, even though it was not specifically directed at her. "Release Saidar now. We will continue in the next class."

 

Reluctantly, Thayetta did as she was instructed, letting the fire in the flower die out, feeling the warmth and the strength fade away.

 

"And just a reminder..." the Accepted continued, "Remember, don't channel, even just reaching out to touch it without supervision from an Accepted or an Aes Sedai."

 

Thayett stared straight at the Accepted, eyes wide and alight, already waiting for the next lesson. Aureli had been right. Channeling was going to be addictive. She smiled.

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